The Tovsky Tribe

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

Monday, August 15, 2016

Camping, Biking, and Poison Ivy

Chase and Ryder had the very fortunate opportunity to go camping with Ethan and his grandfather, lovingly known as G.P.  The Van Aken's are a very outdoorsy family; biking, hiking, kayaking, camping, it is all a part of their normal, everyday lives.  I love all of those things and wish they were a part of my everyday life but that is certainly now how neither Todd nor I were brought up.  But, we are more than thrilled to get to experience these things, and more so, allow the boys to do them, with our very dear friends.  So, when this opportunity came about, for Chase and Ryder to camp- for the first time- with Ethan and G.P., everyone was very excited.

I do not consider myself nor Todd to be helicopter parents by any means and I believe we give them a decent amount of rope.  I feel strongly that kids need real life experiences in order to learn.  With that being said, however, it took a big gulp of "holy shit" for me to be at ease with the fact that they were going away for 4 days, camping for the first time, with a grandfather who doesn't know them too well, to "about 50 miles North of Harrisburg" without a cell phone to check in with.  Even with the big gulp I was never fully at ease but since I trust Jenn fully with our kids and she trusts G.P. I relaxed and was just simply excited for them.  And, off they went. With a long list of medicine dosings (for Ryder, mostly) in hand and cooler full of easy to prepare food they set off on August 8th for what would become the second of their 10th year of life memories (the first being the birthday bash) and their first parentless journey.

We got lucky because Bryce's phone was left home since he was at overnight camp so the boys took his phone with the strict instructions of using it to text us and call us each night and to send us the occasional selfie.

We did hear from them each night and all 3 boys sounded great each time.  Though the phone calls were brief and not very detailed (We went fishing.  We took a bike ride!) they all sounded happy, healthy, and like they were having the best of times, the way best friends should. They even told Turner they missed him and he should come next time, which made him so very happy (and, me too!) Jenn and I were thrilled.  We also received what Jenn and I consider to be the best selfie ever of the 3 smiling boys.

Wednesday night, their last night away, we got a call as always, an "I love you," and a "we will see you tomorrow" before hanging up.  But, after the call I received a text of a photo of Chase's bare tush, with the words, Chase has poison ivy on his butt.  After they sent it,the phone died, so they never answered my question of "Is this real or are you boys just sending me a full moon?"

Turns out, it was real.  When Chase got home I learned he took nature by storm and used leaves for all sorts of things; including a poison ivy leaf to wipe with.  The poor kid had a poison ivy outbreak in hard to reach places that caused him some good discomfort but was also quite funny.  I mean, how could you not laugh at that?  Even Dr. Abir found it amusing.  Chase was a sport about it.  He knew it was funny even though he couldn't stop itching.  And, now that it is healing nicely, we are all having a pretty good laugh.

Their stories of their time away  were about biking, including some reckless downhill off-roading that had Chase falling off his bike and faceplanting (luckily not into a patch of poison ivy) and Ryder nearly falling off a cliff, both of which were the highlight of Ethan's trip. There were stories about catching lots fish, including Ryder's 16inch fish which was the highlight of his trip (and the new fishing rod that G.P. bought him.) And, the cats that nearly lost one of their nine lives by crossing through the boys' reckless bike path.  And,of course, stories about taking dumps outside.  They made fire and roasted food; they made their own lunches (it's a miracle) and they stayed up late in their very own tent (G.P. had his own tent next to theirs) telling stories and laughing uncontrollably.  I would say that is one successful camping trip.

Thank you so much to G.P. and all of the Van Aken's for their kindness.

Friday, July 8, 2016

A letter to my sons on their 10th Birthday!

Dear Chase and Ryder,


Double digits. A decade. Two whole hands. The start of tween-age-dom. There are many names for this milestone but they all mean the same thing; TEN.

Ten. It makes me shiver. An eye-popping, head-scratching, let me re-check my math type of shiver. I can double and triple check but, the fact remains, my double first born are ten.  And, by looking at you, talking to you, knowing you, there is just no denying it.

As I write this letter, 5 of you (Turner and Ryder fell asleep before the fort transfer) are cuddled up in a fort for a sleepover party; the aftermath of a 17 boy birthday celebration with swimming, gaga, trampolines, and man hunt.  The party was great, albeit loud, and a true indicator of the great kids that you have both chosen for friends.  Although, I admit, I like hearing the laughter and the chatter and the discussion of girls, it truly is time for bed!!!

Last year, I commented on how 9 brought so many things but, most substantially, it marked the halfway point of your childhood.  Which means that this one, and every one from here on out, takes us, takes you, further from your childhood.  As your parent, that reality is baffling and also makes me a bit weepy.

Ryder, my sensitive superhero, every day you grow bigger, stronger, taller. Your shoulders are broad and your back is vast.  Your feet are bigger than mine though I do still have you by just a few inches in height...for now. I can't lift you, not even close, but you can and do lift me.  At 97 pounds and 56 inches you are solid as a rock and you're my go to for help carrying heavy things or moving furniture. You love that you have the strength required to help.  For all of your brawn, however, you're this deeply sensitive guy with an imagination and a creativity that can only be described as kinetic. Your body, your mind, your thoughts, your imagination are always, always in motion.  You've developed into an extremely self-aware and confident kid and you are comfortable with the person you are and are becoming. You're not afraid to be your own person and you recognize the wonderful in your very unique talents. You are thoughtful and passionate and, really, you are who you have always been, just more mature and more secure in your being. 

Fourth grade was a year of growth. You had an amazing teacher in Mrs. Carey and an awesome class. You embraced new friendships and cultivated deeper relationships with existing friendships. You've learned that you can be different than someone and still have a lot in common with them and you learned that  true friendship can be found where you least expect it. You've come to realize that you are one of the boys despite being your artsy self.   And, the boys are lucky to have you, because when it comes down to the nitty gritty of what being a real friend is there are not a lot out there that are better than you.  I hope you see the value in being a "true friend."  It makes me very proud.

Of all the things that you are at the top of the list is big brother.  You are absolutely amazing with Decker and he responds to you in kind.  You just seem to "get it" when it comes to a baby, or maybe you just get him. Either way, he adores you and you him and I know I can always count on you to care for him. You love him like you love most things, with passion and devotion and loyalty; that's just who you are.


As we begin this new decade I am hopeful to see you become more responsible, more thoughtful before acting, a little less impulsive.  I would like to see you dedicate yourself, through your talents and passions, to trying and being the best you can be at whatever it is you're doing.  Whether it is school work, art work, friendship, or daily chores- put your super large heart into it and just try and be the best you can be.  My faith in you is unwavering and my support is unconditional. Your possibilities are limitless, like your creativity, and I hope your desire catches up. 

You played basketball again this year, for Coach Bill again, and really enjoyed it. You improved a lot and did a great job on defense.  You enjoy playing and you practice often and I know you will continue to get better and better.  You also took Bass lessons at school and did great performing at the Spring Concert.  Your favorite color is still red. You've fallen in love with skateboarding and have embraced it and practice as often as you can.  You are trying to understand the sport from the bottom up.  Boards, building them and taking part, all the way up to the tricks of the trade. You love to read, are a YouTube phanatic, and love the band Green Day. You love television. You could watch all day if we would let you. And, though you are far less of a gamer than you used to be, you're still an electronics junkie whose face is often in my iPhone. Snapchat. Instagram. FaceTime. Group chat.  I could go on.  You've become very social and outgoing and tell stories with detail and excitement. You took a drawing class and did well and your talent is just blossoming. Your closest friends are Ethan and Connor and Jake and Aidan. And, of course, you're still close to Joey and Ryan. 

I can't wait to see what this year brings. 


Chase- my determined and disciplined superstar- you have grown taller and stronger (64 pounds and 54 inches), though you are still quite lean, and your back has broadened indicating a slow to come growth spurt that certainly has taken you out of the "smaller" category. Your lean body is pure muscle and your hands and feet move quickly and gracefully.   You are agile and fast both physically and mentally and have a heart that fuels itself on desire and competition.  Although you have recently lowered your own bar (just a bit) you still want to be the very best you can be at almost everything.  You are willing to work and to practice and to keep on trying until you master whatever it is you have set your mind on.  That discipline has served you well, most recently it was with the Rubik's cube that you vowed to solve.  And solve you did. I still don't understand how you can use ten different fingers to rotate each of the layers in many different directions at once, nor do I get how to solve it, but none of that matters. You can and do solve it swiftly and easily and continue to practice to do it better, faster. I hope this inner desire to win and the discipline to work continues to grow within you and keeps you striving for success.

4th grade was a good year for you in many ways.  Originally disappointed that most of your buddies were not with you in class, you were able to accept new friendships and came to realize that different people have different and wonderful things to offer.  You were impressed by your classmates smarts, or different hobbies, or silly personalities and accepted with your typical charm that not everyone loves sports. Mrs. Jaggers seemed to be a good match for you in the classroom (not to mention that she is Meg's best friend, a little fact that makes me happy!) and you excelled in almost all subjects. You were excited to learn, took it seriously, and as you do, tried to be the very best student you could be.  You love math, your skills in the subject have really taken off, and it won't be long before I will be completely unable to help you.  Luckily, you won't need much help in that area.

This year you traded your soccer cleats for ice skates and spent your first full season on a travel ice hockey team.  You missed soccer a bit, and were fortunate enough to play as a sub on many occasions, but overall hockey was a wonderful experience.  In addition to playing great hockey and improving your game, you made terrific memories and even better friends.  You are a very good hockey player and you love the sport and it shows in every way every time you are on the ice.  I am confident that you will continue to improve and develop as you play more and more.  You also had another enjoyable season of baseball.  For in-house you played for Coach Steve on the Falcons in the American League, which had you playing up with kids up to 12 years old.  For travel you played for Coach Steve as well.  This year's Bombers team had a lot of new (to you) kids on it and gave you an opportunity to play with some new boys and make some friends.  You played 1st base for the Bombers, which was a new experience.  Although you missed playing shortstop a bit more regularly, you embraced first base and played it very well.


Your favorite color is currently orange, which is no coincidence that it is the Flyers color. You love all Philly teams especially the Phillies and the Flyers. You like movies and magic and telling jokes. You're quieter than you were when you were younger, you keep more things close to your chest. You are still social, though less so, and continue to have a charming way about you.  Your closest friends are Ethan and Connor. In this new decade I hope that you can be a little neater and a little more thoughtful when it comes to the people and things around you. You have a tendency to get caught up in "Chase's bubble" and forget there's a big world out there.  You are a very smart kid who doesn't always think things through and I am hoping your tenth year can bring you a bit more of that and a bit more responsibility.  Childhood is for fun and memories and for learning so that you can be a responsible and respectable adult.  I want you to enjoy your childhood, as you are, and I want you to embrace the opportunity to learn.  I have no doubts about what you are capable of and I have a faith in you that can't be questioned.  I will always support you and I have no doubt of the success that will follow you.  I am so excited to see what this year brings you.


Everyday is an adventure with the two of you, the four of you, really; loud, hectic, often smelly and usually silly.  I love every minute of our life and I am beyond proud of both you, each of you, all of you.

You make me proud every day and I hope to continue to guide you so that you can make yourselves proud as well.

I love you so....

Growing into the birthday shirt
Almost bigger than the birthday shirt

The 9 year old letter

Friday, June 10, 2016

Last Day of School 2016

I was fine. The boys were happy, laughing. Another last day school come and gone and I was doing ok. Easy come, easy go. Then, stupid Facebook, gave me a 5 year old memory and that was the end of my holding it together. I love Facebook memories. It is one of my favorite things about the social network. But, really, on a day with suppressed emotions and overwhelming feelings of the passage of time did it have to go and do that?  Did it have to show me a picture they claim was 5 years ago when I am pretty confident it was just 5, maybe 6, posts ago.

It snowballed from there.  Turner said he was becoming a 2nd grader.  Chase and Ryder said they were 5th graders. 5th graders are big kids, by the way. Then they reminded me this was the last time they would ride the bus with Joey, who is off to middle school in the fall, and that was it, I became a quick puddle and decided that Decker can't grow up. Not ever. Sorry buddy. 

Turner began first grade with a crew cut so I hardly recognize him in the day one pictures. He entered the grade struggling with reading and has ended the year with a marked improvement. He seems to have an understanding of math concepts that he must have inherited from Delaney and Chase. He went to his birthday parties, made some friends, and seemed to have a good time. He remains to be an indecisive boy who hasn't found his "thing" yet. And, since he is 7, I try not to worry too much about it.   Mrs. Delfini was fantastic, yet again. Ryder had her for kindergarten and I liked her all over again. And, she liked Turner. She described him as helpful to both her and his classmates, happy and positive, with a desire to learn and to satisfy.  I would say she knows him well.  I am excited for him to go to 2nd grade even if that means I'm accepting his growing up. 

4th grade was also a great year for Chase and Ryder. The youngest of the upper classmen, 4th grade comes with much more academic independence, which is good because the math is getting near impossible, and much more social involvement.  Texting. FaceTiming. Hanging out. There was more language, more sarcasm, more thought provoking conversations. Ryder blossomed as a reader finding a real love for books. He enjoyed his class, and loved learning what science had to offer. Mrs. Carey proved to be the perfect teacher for him as she got to know him and understand him and adore him as I had hoped. Chase continued to excel in math and achieve high marks all around, and had an enjoyable year finding common interests with new kids as many of his friends were not in his class. Both boys saw how peer pressure can effect their classmates and how "being cool" often sends people off track. Luckily, my kids stayed in line pretty well but we're disappointed that not everyone did. I am proud of them for continuing to be nice kids, to look out for others, and for them realizing that good friends come in different packages and they aren't always the kids that have all of the same interests. I am also proud of them for forging their own paths, albeit different from each other, and being secure enough with who they are to continue on those paths. 

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Happy 41st Birthday to me!!

It is after midnight, which means it is officially my birthday.  Although I do not know the exact time of my birth, I do know we are nearing the time (approximately 2am), 41 years ago, when after being 5 days later than due, I rushed into the world and took my first breath in the back of the very police car that was hightailing it to the nearest hospital so that a baby wouldn't be born his car.  This remains to be my most interesting fun fact in spite of any experiences life has given me.

I don't know how I am 41.  I understand chronology and numbers and have a mathematical understanding of time yet I can't grasp the passing of it. I can not comprehend how decades literally span 20 or 30 years yet pass fugaciously by like a dream. You look back and it seems it all happened when you blinked.

It is an interesting thing- having a baby just  7 weeks prior to a milestone birthday. Not so much because it marked the said milestone but because his aging is an increasing tally of the time past since that particular day.  When it seems impossible that a year could have gone by I have this remarkable little human clock that tells me it is isn't only possible, but real.  All of the amazing things that Decker has learned and has become serve as my evidence that time is passing, in the very best of ways, and I do not need to feel one day older for me to know that another candle is added to my cake this year.  The truth is, it seemed impossible that I turned 40, so 41 is like some sort of science fiction fantasy that only could be made for television, yet I did, I am...well, I was.    Impossible things happen all of the time, or so it seems.

41 is that age where you just kind of hang out, uneventfully, in your early 40's.  Enough days have passed to get over the shock of the 4th decades arrival and yet another milestone is still far enough away that there's no real excitement in the new age.

This past year has been an unexpected dream come true as we watched our baby's first year.  It has also been a year of personal high's and lows. I have worked more, and enjoyed it, and have found some ways to let my creativity flow. I am studying to get my securities license, and though I do find it difficult to get the time in to study, I find I am making it happen (though slower than anticipated) and it proves if you make time things can get done. I am trying to make time for the friends I don't see, something I found more difficult than desired during baby's first year.   I lost a good amount of weight and am thinner than I may have been at 31 and in exchange I have gained a few gray hairs and more than a handful of "laugh lines."  I have said on more than one occasion, to any of my younger friends who have recently joined this club, "don't fret, 40 is the best yet," and I actually have meant it each and every time.  I mean, true, I am not having nearly as much fun as I did in my 20's, my patience is less, my memory has dwindled, and my pockets are far more shallow.   But my fun is different, my confidence is more, my memories have grown, and my heart is deeper.  Mathematically it seems to balance out. Life is a series of moments.  Hopefully, more positive ones than negative,  and it is about embracing and handling each of those moments and occasionally looking around at those who surround you and just being grateful.

I know in what will seem like a rather short time I'll be 51 and wondering  where my 40's went, looking for that decade as if it were Waldo hidden in the crowd. So I'll just embrace these days, the chaos, the busy schedules, the into everything toddler and the mouthy almost ten year olds who are confusing the onset of double-digits with teenhood. I'll embrace the weekends of kid activities and sports and birthday parties and accept that paychecks are for bills and groceries  and kid activities and sports. Because I know it is just a passing phase of life that, even if hard at times, will be missed when it is gone. 

Life is a series of phases that cascade upon you often with out warning.  In my 40's I've become aware of this and settle into my wisdom with calm and collection. In each phase there are highs and lows, of course.  I find it is best to handle the problems one at a time while clinging to the highlights all at once grasping them by the handful and stamping them on my memory.

Each year will be met with the same disbelief as the one before it, perhaps even more. I just hope each year is met with a similar positive attitude and overall happiness.

(Continued on 5/1/16)

My day was spent on a lunch date with Todd to our most favorite of places, Kisso.  We have had so many special occasions spent within those bright orange walls and this one was no different and sure did not disappoint.  The rain outside dampened our shoes but not our spirits as we indulged in Alex's food and savored each and every delicious bite.  We enjoyed catching up with Alex, as we like to do, and didn't hesitate to sip on the sake.

After lunch we had to head back home so that we could spend the early evening at synagogue where Chase and Ryder were called to the bimah to accept their B'nai Mitzvah date.  Yup, that really happened.  If that isn't evidence of how fast time passes then I do not know what is.  After synagogue we had some pizza and some cocktails with good friends before heading over to watch what remained of Chase's baseball game.  Another birthday on a ball field....I love that!!

(And, of course, we had our traditional hibachi dinner the night prior.)

Another birthday, another wish made, another year gone by. Happy birthday to me!!

It's not a birthday picture without Alex

We've been coming to Kisso for almost 20 years and this is our first picture under the name!

This was MY 40!

Friday, March 4, 2016

A Letter to my Son on his First Birthday!

Dear Decker,

Growing in to the birthday shirt

Happy First Birthday.  You are One Year Happy!! 

First Birthday.  It makes me happy.  And, sad. I wonder where time has gone, even knowing there were long sleepless nights (though not very many.)  I wonder how it has only been a year?  Haven't you always been with us?   And, mostly, I am simply in awe of you. 

I remember this time last year; the unexpected delivery due to another failed non-stress test. The pending snow storm. The minor scare prior to delivery. I remember the doctors placing you in my arms, my son, still nameless, and I was instantly in love. And, how could I not be?  Everyone who meets you falls in love.  This has been the case since your infancy when you were a tiny, little peanut who brought calm and joy to your holder.  This was the case during your early smiles, and your tiny giggles.  It is the case now, with your silliness, your curls, your wonderful way, and, of course, your blue eyes- finding something, everything, to fall in love with is simple.
It's not just me, though I am quite possibly your biggest admirer, but it seems that anyone who knows you sees how special you are...instantly. I am pretty sure you inherited this trait from your namesake.

 You are a busy boy, always doing, touching, feeling, learning.  You have these skills that are so precise and capable that it blows us all away.  It shouldn't be that way at One.  But, this is YOU we are talking about.  You are studying the world around you and taking it all in.  We can see it in your eyes as you focus on whatever it is that is in front of you.  You watch our lips as we talk and you watch our hands as we use them. You use your pointer finger to touch things, feel them. I have no doubt you understand how everything works even if you are not able to do these things just yet.  And, though this "studious" side makes you come off  as serious, which you tend to be, you have a silly side that is revealed through your adorable giggles and your "hoorays."

You are a master climber, which began at a young age with the stairs, and has progressed to, well, everything.  You climb chairs, tables, furniture, book cases, me.  You are good at climbing, and seem to do it properly and safely.  You are taking steps, and are mighty proud each time you do, as are we, but are not yet walking, though you are a super fast crawler.

You love to play ball.  You will sit and we can roll it to you, but you will pick it up and chuck it right back.  If it is possible to have a good arm and an accurate throw at age one then you do.  Maybe it is luck. I doubt it. And, "ball" is your favorite word to say.  If you see a ball, any ball, any round object really, your eyes open wider, your mouth turns up just a bit, your finger points forward and "ball" comes out of your mouth.  Repeatedly and happily.

You love to "play" Patty Cake and Row, Row, Row your Boat and if I simply just say "Row, Row" to you you will start rocking back and forth.  You love when I sing the song D-E-C-K-E-R (sung to the tune of Bingo) and you love to eat wipes.  It's true.  It is disgusting (I have tasted one) and we always tell you so, but pulling wipes from the dispenser to put in your mouth happens a lot.  Too much.  Actually, most things end up in your mouth.  Sometimes I think you are just testing us, to see if we are paying attention, because you'll give us a look as you put your hand (filled with something that doesn't belong in your mouth) to your lips waiting for our "No, no, Decker, that isn't food." You like to bang on the piano and to strum a guitar and seem to dance a bit when music is played.  There's a special place in your heart for the men in our lives...which begins with your brothers, who are your favorite people, and includes your uncles.  When any of them are around there is not much time for anyone else.

Changing your diaper is impossible, because there is no way you are willing to sit still for the amount of time it takes to wipe a dirty toosh.  As is, wiping your nose, which is met with a scream of horror.  Wearing socks is not an option, in spite of many people's opinion on this, because you pull them off just as quickly as we put them on.

You are a good eater, only want table food, and prefer it be full of flavor- even spice.  Plain noodles are met with disgust, while noodles in a spicy red sauce are eaten at an adult portion.  You have a very clear way of letting us know that you are no longer interested in eating, and that is by chucking food clear across the room.  That's always our sign.  

You transitioned easily from a bottle to a cup and love your milk!  And, you've been enjoying Miss Cheryl's class where, finally at full capacity, you are surrounded by your harem of ladies.  Lucky little girls:)    You seem very happy at Bright Eyes and all of the teachers adore you.  How could they not?

At one year old you weigh 21 pounds, 8 ounces are 30.5 inches tall have an 18 inch head and a 19 inch chest and, although it is not something the doctor measures, you are very, very strong. True story.  You have muscle definition on your baby body.  I am pretty sure that is not typical.

Your birthday will be celebrated on Sunday with a pajama breakfast party.  Our family and closest friends will celebrate you, your first year of life and the wonder and joy you've brought all of us.  It is a well-deserved party.

Decker, In June of 2014 I was going along with life, as I had been for the years prior, assuming my family was complete. A month later I learned otherwise.  You are my every day reminder that things always happen exactly as they are supposed to even if it is not expected. From the very first second that you were born it was clear that our family was never complete without you. You bring such joy to each and every one of us and are loved, adoringly, by all .  I will continue to ride the waves as they come knowing that what is meant to be will happen. You are my proof.

All 366 days (thank you leap year) since your birth have been filled with a happiness and an admiration and an awe that only you, Decker Jaime Tovsky, could provide.  There is not a moment that passes that I am not grateful and that I am not proud.  

I love you so, every day.....


Read the amazing similarities...

Chase and Ryder at 1
Turner at 1 year old

Thursday, January 7, 2016

A Letter to my Son on his 7th Birthday

Dear Turner-

Another year has passed us by and now my baby boy is 7.  A 7 year old, who is in first grade, is almost as tall as his 9 year old brother, and has shoulders that are broadening and a chest that is thickening. I was only half kidding when I put you to bed tonight and told you that you may wake up taller than me.

You are a special boy, Turner.  There is really nothing else to say.  You have this way of making those around you feel special and lucky and engaged.  You make eye contact and appreciate each moment that anyone spends with you, and it shows.

You make friends, easily.  You are social, and fun, and bring an element to the party that is missed when you are not around.   And, yet, you are independent and mature and O.K. all on your own.  You know everything, but don't ever act like a know it all.  But, if I am looking for something or need to know some information about our household, I can always ask you and be sure to get the right answer.  You are structured, yet not too much, and like order, but are not obsessed by it.  You are silly, and smart, and always have a dance move in your step and a song in your voice.

At school you have Mrs. Delfini.  Some of your school friends are Gavin, Chase, Jake, Alex, and Greyson.  Although you fight incessantly with Ryder it is because you  are very much like him and share similar interests.  You have a bond with Chase that doesn't need to be discussed, it just is, and although you love to tattle tale, it is clear you adore them both.  You don't let them get away with giving the younger brother a hard time and definitely dish it right back at them.

You are an amazing big brother to Decker.  Your care and concern is evident each time you look at him.  You take him in your arms and never hesitate to tell him you love him or tell him how cute he is.  So often you greet him with "Hi, gorgeous face!"  Your empathetic and thoughtful way makes you a natural big brother and you never think twice about making sure he is happy first.  I admire that about you.  It is just who you are.  You care about other people and other things and make the effort to satisfy those around you.   You are a terrific chore doer and are my number one man when it comes to offering me help. You're not scared of hard work, nor a little elbow grease, and are always willing to lend a helping hand.

Your party will be on Sunday, celebrated with The Great Holtzie.  This is a party you've been waiting to have since you were 4, when Chase and Ryder had him at their party.  I told you then, "when you are in first grade" and don't you know that as soon as your party was brought up this year you said "I am in first grade, I get Great Holtzie."  That is how you are.  You don't forget things that are said and expect follow through.  We need someone like you living in this house, for sure.

You will dabble in sports when all of the boys play but you have not, yet, shown too much of an interest in playing organized sports.  Maybe that is not for you.  You do take piano lessons, though they are bi-weekly so progression is slow, but you seem to enjoy them and are diligent about what you learn.  Earlier in October you had a little recital.  You did a great job, as we would expect, and you looked so handsome.

Although you don't talk about it, and it is hard because Ryder gets so much attention for his skills, you are a pretty good drawer.  I hope you will continue to practice the art form so that you can become a talented artist, as well.

You're a unique and wonderful kid.  At 7 years old you are 62 pounds and 48.5 inches.  You are getting bigger and thicker and your back is spreading every day. You have a loud speaking voice and often need to be shushed but also have an endearing smile and contagious laugh. You are quick witted and clever and don't miss too much of what's around you. You're street smart and showing signs of being a good student. 

You're my baby, now and forever, as I like to tell you often, but there's very little baby left in you. 

I love you, Turner. You make me proud every day. 


Turner at 5

Turner at 6

Sunday, January 3, 2016

A Letter to my Son on his 10 Month Birthday

Dear Decker,

The months are passing faster than I can get these letters written. I am sure this comes as a surprise to no one.  And, you've made it clear you aren't waiting for anyone or anything.  In fact, it seems your goal is to outpace time. 

Every day is something new with you; something wonderful.  One morning you woke up and the beautiful hair on your head was several inches longer.  You always had a lot of hair; thick and beautiful, with a healthy shine- hair that was noticed by every passerby.  But, truly, you woke up one morning and it was suddenly long, and super curly (and still beautiful.)   Although it still is fine baby hair, and difficult to control, we do try to keep the bangs out of your face with a nice side part.

If there is a skill you are working on we know it is just a few short days before you figure it out. This month you have learned to clap, which is fantastic, because now everything, EVERYTHING, is met with an applause.  You applaud all of us and you love it when we applaud you.  You can now climb up the steps with ease and have learned to climb down the steps, as well.  Finally learning to turn around at the top and go down feet first you now climb up just to come down.  Although you do it correctly, and we have a lot of confidence in your abilities (reducing our fear) I am pretty sure you have rug burns up and down the front of your legs.  Luckily, you don't seem to bothered by it.

You can now stand up on your own for 30 seconds or more, and have begun cruising.  It won't be long before you are walking.  Then running.  You continue to pay close attention to what is around you.  You seem to study the way our lips move when we speak and you will try to mimic the motion, though not necessarily the sound.  But, with that said, you babble often and your sounds are becoming much more clear.  "More" is a word you say, and sign, and we also think you say Up.  Speaking of up, you point up a lot.  We all assume you are fascinated by the lights as you will point directly at each of the fixtures.  And, of course, there is a lot of "ma ma ma" and "da da da" and you have your consistent hum which you do as you are putting yourself to sleep.

As serious and as focused as you can be you have started to find the silly in things.  A game of peekaboo, a tickle to the neck, or just the silly dances and sounds that your brothers entertain you with can get you giggling and laughing.  We all love it.

You eat just about anything we give you now, you still love your bottles, and bath time is one of your favorite things to do.

We celebrated hanukkah, which was mostly uneventful for you (sorry little guy, next year you will make out just fine) and enjoyed some relaxation and time off together over Christmas.  On New Years we had the Cohens and the Levins here, and of course Uncle Mat, and though you did not make it to midnight, nor did we try, you were a wonderful addition to our small soiree.

You love to touch everyone's noses, touch everything with one finger, and put too much in your mouth.  You like to bounce on your toosh on the beds around the house and enjoy touching the pages of any book we put in your hand.  You also love to touch the television, assuming, like the phone, something happens when you touch it, and when you hear familiar voices "coming through the small box" you grin from ear to ear- fascinated that Mom-Mom or anyone can fit inside the box.

You are truly a pleasure, sunshine on a rainy day.  Just your being, your presence, makes all of us happier and lighter, and it is amazing to be a person that can have such a profound effect on so many, even at only 10 months old.

Everyday I look forward to the things you will show me and the things you will teach me....even as I write this, I can't wait for tomorrow.

Keep being you, keep learning and doing and grinning.  We could not be more proud.

I love you so....

Up you go
Mommy Decker selfie
Where's your tongue?