Just So You Know

To: The Dynamic Duo

From: Your Mama

Date: August 27, 2012

RE: Just So You Know


Dear Boys,

It seems like just yesterday, Daddy and I were sitting around trying to figure out what we were going to name you two. And now, here we are wondering where in the heck the past nine years have gone. I’ve heard it a thousand times since becoming a mama, but it is so true. Y’all are growing up so fast.

It makes my heart smile to see you two play cars or Legos or Ape, which is really nothing more than you two throwing a baseball against the front wall and “fielding it” as it rolls down the hill. I love that you two get creative during playtime. You call yourselves, The Alpha Team, and together you two make an awesome team.

Now, about your rooms… Your rooms are a hot mess.

For the love of all that is holy, PLEASE keep the LEGOS out of the friggin’ floor or the next time I step on one of the suckers, I just might blow a gasket.

And since we’re on the topic of blowing a gasket, please understand that as much as I’d love to allow you to stay on the DS till it runs dead each day, I simply can’t. It would make me an irresponsible parent and it would make you a zoned-out- knot-head, so QUIT asking me 4,821 times a day if you can play your DS.



Dear Stevie,

Last week you started the fourth grade. I can’t hardly even type that without getting all teary eyed. That day was your last first day of elementary school. It makes me sad to know that you will be in Middle School next year, but for now, I will attempt to put that out of my mind.

Since the last installment of Just So You Know, you have braces on your teeth. It was weird being right back in the same orthodontist’s office I sat in over twenty years ago when I got braces. I know they are a pain in the patootie, but trust me when I tell you it will all be worth it when you have beautiful, straight teeth. Well, that is if you’d remember to brush them twelve times a day.

Your favorite thing to do is play Legos, and of course, the stinkin’ DS. I love that you also enjoying reading.

You love school and you never, ever complain about doing homework. In fact, sometimes you spend lots more time than necessary doing homework because it is tough for you to stay focused sometimes. You are a great kid and it is a blessing being your mama.

Enjoy 4th grade sweet boy. I hope you have a great year!

Love, Mom


Dear Alex,

The evening before you started first grade, you were so excited and ready. You love your teacher and I am so happy that you enjoy school. You are a loving, kind, stubborn little boy with a knack for saying funny things. I enjoy watching you learn and grow.

Ever since watching the Olympics, you have played with a Leap Frog Globe learning all about countries, country populations, currency, and national anthems. I’ve learned several things thanks to your new geography studies. Just like Stevie, you enjoy playing Legos and the DS.

Unlike Stevie, you enjoy matching up your clothes in the morning and making sure your socks and shoes match when at all possible. Though I didn’t get a daughter, I certainly got a little fella who takes great interest in his wardrobe.

I love that you still cuddle with me, and fewer things make my heart happier than your lanky arms wrapped around my neck in the morning with the words, “Good morning, mommy!”

I hope you have a great year in first grade!

I’m glad you’re mine!




Just So You Know

TO: My sweet boys

FROM: Your mama

DATE: July 27, 2011

RE: Just So You Know


Dear Boys:

I might as well start off by apologizing for being a couple of months late on your monthly memo. If my monthly memo writing is a reflection of my parenting, well, lets just say I need to work on my skills. In my defense though, y’all know we have been incredibly busy the past few years months.

Here goes another attempt at documenting your behavior, your likes and dislikes, and some things that um, need to be changed before I go nine kinds of crazy and take y’all out back and hang you upside down from the trampoline poles.

And don’t think I won’t do it.

The first thing I’d like to talk about is this obsession the two you have with all things birdies, butts and farts.

Really. Give. It. A. Rest.

I hear all the time that boys will be boys, but it gets real old hearing y’all make fart sounds with your armpits. Plus, it’s rude to do it in 92% of the places y’all bust it out, so STOP IT ALREADY. That, along with the leg-pit farts too. It was funny the first 318 times you did it, but it has slowly moved on to become a great big source of aggravation.

Still, at the end of the day when I lay my head on my pillow, I am thankful that God chose me, out of all the mommies in the world, to parent you two. You make motherhood so much fun and I love you both very much!


 Dear Stevie,

Child. Do you have any earthly idea how bad you scared me when you had the bike wreck at the campground and fell over like you were dead because you held your breath for too long? Those seconds were the scariest of my life and I would just love it if you could make sure to never ever do that again for as long as you live, so help you God. When your big brown eyes rolled back in your head and your lips turned blue, I died a million deaths right there in the middle of that street. I am sorry that I freaked out, but I’d be lying if I said I had it within me to do anything other than what I did and that was scream like a crazy person.

I am so thankful that you are okay. An entire month later I still have the image of you going down in my head. It haunts me every time I close my eyes.


It is also worth mentioning (because I love to mention the crazy) that this little trip to the ER to check out your head, knee and vital organs uncovered the fact that you have an accessory spleen.

Welcome to the extra spleen club, kid!

For those of you keeping score, my kid was born with an extra tooth, and an extra spleen.

I guess daddy and I are in luck if we ever find ourselves in need of a spleen.

You ended a fabulous second grade year with straight A’s and you also enjoyed another great year as a cub scout. At Day Camp, you had an awesome time meeting new friends and going to the shooting range. For the second year in a row, you earned a medal for your BB Gun shooting.

You love: Lego’s, hotwheels, playing Wii, playing DS, reading, pretending to shoot stuff as a spy agent, swimming, wearing baseball shirts, having a mohawk, drawing, playing hide and go seek, running, AND TALKING WAY LOUDER THAN NECESSARY 97% of the time. (I guess you get it honest.)

You do not like: putting up laundry, peas, going to bed, apple juice (which is funny to me because you LOVED it as a toddler), or straightening up your room.

Stevie, you are a sweet child with a big heart and a compassionate spirit. You love to hug and snuggle up on my lap, even though you are more than half as tall as I am. I love being your mom and I’d do anything to S-L-O-W-D-O-W-N time because the teenage years are just around the corner and that makes me all kinds of sad.

I love you,



Dear Alex,

When daddy and I decided to have another baby, I assumed we’d have another child exactly like Stevie because that’s how I thought babies and families worked.

I could not have been more wrong about that.

No one was more suprised than me to learn that I had birthed (or C-Sectioned) a kid that was a total opposite of the first child we had. You are fiercely independant, with a streak of stubborn on the side. Every milestone in your life has been on YOUR terms and was only slowed down if daddy or I attempted to encourage or push you. And that’s fine. It just took us a good while to catch on to that. One of the biggest differences in the two of you, is your desire to “DO IT YOURSELF”.

You are more than ready for Kindergarten, which is more than I can say for your mama. Your new favorite thing is to spell words and write words. There is all kinds of information in your brain, but you only share what’s up there when you are good and ready.

And not a moment sooner.

Swimming lessons this year went a lot better than swimming lessons did last year, but just like your brother, you really got the hang of swimming during a week at scout camp, watching other boys swim and jump and play in the pool.

You like: to dress yourself, play with your critters, playing DS, watching Tom & Jerry, playing Wii, going to Centershot, runnng, jumping, climbing, riding your bike, swimming, and giving me kisses.

You do not like: sitting down for dinner, peas, or any green vegetable for that matter, waiting, or being stuck.

As a tagalong, you enjoyed yourself immensely at Scout Camp. You made new friends and pretty much latched on to a new friend everyday. You were a good sport in spite of the heat and humidity and even spent a great deal of time with another den away from me. You enjoyed the range and even shot two bulls-eyes throughout the week.

And speaking of scout camp… I owe you a huge apology for that little ordeal with the bandage on your side. On the very last day of scout camp, you were running on the pool deck (even though I had told you 2,382 to STOP RUNNING BEFORE YOU FALL) when you fell down and suffered a pretty deep cut on your side. We visited the first aid stand at the pool and a sweet lifeguard gal cleaned you up and put a waterproof, flesh colored bandage the size of my iPhone on your side. There were several times over the next few days that I asked you to remind me to take the bandage off, not doing it at any of those times because either we were not at home, or we were in the middle of a meal.

When I finally remembered we stopped at a rest stop and we were in the stall together, I noticed that your side was really, really red. I removed that bandage and I was appalled and disgusted at myself becuase that whole area was a hot mess. And it stunk. Never, ever, in my eight plus years of motherhood have I ever felt as incompetent and undeserving as I did at that moment. Thankfully, after some diligent Neosporin applications, it is almost completely healed up. I’m sorry that you had to endure that. Thanks for being such a great sport about it.

It makes ne to sad that you are growing up so quickly. My greatest joy is watching you learn from your brother and hearing the two of you giggle. Even if you are laughing about bottoms and birdies, and farts.

Thank you for coming toward me with fishy lips several times during the day to give me a kiss. It is one of my greatest joys as a mommy. I love you sweet boy, and I can’t tell you how proud I am of you for marching to the tune of your own drummer, even if the tune, sometimes, is hard to comprehend. You are a smart boy who doesn’t miss a whole heck of a lot, despite your efforts to make it seem that way.

I love you sweet boy,



Just So You Know

To: Stevie and Alex
From: Your Mama
Date: April 7, 2011
RE: Just So You Know

Dear Boys,

What a crazy busy, exciting month it’s been around here. For the first time ever in the history of our household, we are now a baseball family. We’ve shopped for socks, belts, helmets, batting gloves, catcher’s mitts, pants and balls. (And almost had to take out a loan to do so.) We are slowing learning the rules of the game and doing our best to figure out why the league can’t be more organized with the dissemination of information. We won’t talk about though.

We finally received game schedules for both of your teams and I have some really bad news. Both games this week are scheduled for 10:00 AM. I know, I know. Of all the stinkin’ luck.I guess daddy and I will be playing tag-team watching half of each game and switching off half-way through. And sadly, almost ALL of your games are scheduled at the same time on two different fields. I am disgusted and aggravated about that, but I was not consulted about the schedule.

I will do my very best to keep myself under control in the stands, but y’all know I’m a crazy person with a big trap.

Can we just talk for a bit about the bickering between the two of you? For the longest time this wasn’t an issue and I just figured that maybe we wouldn’t have to go down this particular road. But please, for the love of all that is sane and good, can we please just STOP IT and GET ALONG? For the most part, the two of you play well most of the time, but that other time? The time when y’all are fighting over which booster seat, who gets out of the van first, who get the red cup, who gets bathed first, who gets to pick the show, who has to run the laundry basket downstairs? Um, I could do without it. Hearing y’all giggle is one of my favorite things about being your mama, so please, can we have more of that?

I feel blessed to have two healthy, happy boys and I love the two of you more than anything in the world.

Love, Mama


Dear Stevie,

This has been such an exciting month for you.

For starters, Pastor Aaron announced to the congregation that a baptism would be held and anyone interested in being baptised should stay for a short meeting after the worship service. As daddy and I were packing up to leave, we noticed you sitting among the baptism candidates. As it turns out, you signed your name to the list indicating that you wanted to be baptised without asking or telling us. After we arrived at home we talked to you about the importance of baptism and asked you some questions about why it was necessary. We felt confident that you completely understood what it was all about. A few weeks later, we sat teary eyed in the sanctuary, as our hearts filled with joy.

What a special day for you.

And for us, too.

Also this month, you and daddy took 3rd place in the Father/Son Bakeoff at Cub Scouts. Your “Scratch Cake” was a hit!

I’d love to think that you learned your mad culinary skills in the kitchen from me, but, that’s probably no where close to the truth, so I won’t even go there. Good job, sweet boy!

The other major thing that happened this month is that you kicked off  “your baseball career”. For months, you have wanted to play baseball. We got you all signed up and you are having a blast. During a scrimmage game last week, you hit a triple. You were over the moon excited and retold the story about 418 times.

You are all into LEGOS and Sonic the Hedgehog these days. And of course the electronic devices which might come to a sudden halt because I am tired of you all asking us CONSTANTLY if you can play the DS, the iTouch, and the Wii. I am weary and weak and I just want to put them all in a drawer and leave them there for a couple of weeks. It’s coming sweet boy, if y’all don’t ease up, it’s coming.

Oh, and finally, I don’t want to be one of those mothers, but, BUT, you received straight A’s on your report card yet again.

Like I said. Busy. And exciting!

I love you, Stevie,



Dear Alex,

As we approach the end of the school year, I am sitting here wondering where in the heck the last five years have gone. I know you are ready for Kindergarten, but, I am not. My life, as I have known it for the past eight years, will change. I have some serious getting ready to do before the big day in August, but honestly, you are my baby and I enjoy spending everyday with you.

At Kindergarten Roundup today, the nurse asked how long you had worn glasses. You answered, “About 100 years.”  Then, you proceeded to report to the speech therpist that your favorite food is vegetables, and specificially broccoli. Nothing could be further from the truth and it left daddy and I shaking out heads wondering why you would say something so crazy. Broccoli makes you gag and sometimes puke and it is a battle at the dinner table everytime I fix it. Have you forgotten about that? You are so funny.

I can’t hardly imagine you going to school everyday even though you aced the “academic” part of the kindergarten registration. Finally, you will be going to school because you are a student there and not because mommy is running off papers or “working” there.

Stevie has been drawing Sonic the Hedgehog for months and apparently you have been watching him because you are very good at drawing him too. I was amazed when you drew Sonic at the Library because I had no idea you could draw so well.

You have also been drawing each of your stuffed animals and writing their names. Your favorite animals are Fooey (dog), Oasis (tiger), and Hearts (dog) and you are rarely ever seen without one of them in your hands. You love to watch Tom & Jerry and just like Stevie, you ask constantly to play the iTouch, the DS and the Wii. Can you do me a favor and STOP BUGGING ME about them? Pretty please, with all the sugar I can muster on top? If not, daddy and I will be forced to take serious measures that will include the disappearance of each of those devices and their chargers for an undisclosed period of time.

You asked to sign up for T-ball this year and I am so excited to watch your first game. You get bored easily at practices and you’ve asked over and over if you can just play games and not practice anymore. Sweet baby, practice makes perfect and you need to listen and pay attention at practice so that you can be a better ball player. Plus, we’ve invested a lot of money in the equipment and the fees, so no, you MAY NOT skip practice. I’ve enjoyed watching you improve week after week and I know you’re going to do great on Saturday.

I love you A-R!




Just So You Know is a montly letter I write to my boys.

Just So You Know

To: Havoc and Mayhem

From: Your Crazy Mama

Date: January 23, 2011

RE: Just So You Know

Dear Boys:

It’s another busy month here at the McResidence, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. 

Just last night as I watched you brush your teeth, it dawned on me that neither of you need a stool to reach the bathroom sink. When did that happen? It seems like just yesterday Daddy and I were preparing your toothbrushes, brushing your teeth, and wiping your mouth. And now? NOW? All I can say is, “Wow!”

Well, “Wow!” and “How in the heck do you get toothpaste on the back of the toilet?”

It makes me so sad to think of the hundreds of other things you boys no longer need me to help you with.

Fathertime. Mothernature. Whoever’s in charge of this thing, could you slow it down?

We’ve had six snow days in the past four weeks and I look forward to those days, the days where lazily sit in my bed and talk about  Sonic the Friggin’ Hedgehog, and legos, and how to make pankcakes. Then, we have breakfast well after 9AM and vote unanimously to stay in our PJ’s all day long, playing DS’s and making cookies. Plus, we get to sleep late!

If I had my way, I would stop time because five and eight are so much fun. You are at the point where we have actual to goodness rational conversations about careers and life-changing stuff. We talked about careers earlier this evening and I was thrilled to hear that you Stevie hope to be an art teacher, and Alex, you want to be a nurse that gives kids shots at the Doctor, which is funny to me, because you hate shots. Whatever you choose to do, I want you to be good at it. Daddy and I will proud whether you become a teacher, a doctor, a trash-man, or a stay-at-home-dad, as long as you give it your all.

Please understand that I would love it if the two of you could play on your DS’s, iTouches and the Wii all day long. I hate to be the dream killer here but really y’all need to understand that allowing you to play those technological gadgets at will would mean that your brains would turn to mush and you’d miss out on a lot of stuff. So, unfortunately I will continue to monitor and limit your time with each.

Thank you and amen.

And anyway, when you’re not playing video games, the two of you are typically playing together, and there’s nothing that makes me any happier than to watch y’all make up games and stories. You are both so very different, yet, you play together beautifully. I am thankful for that.

I feel privileged to be your mama. I love you both and I cherish the days we get to spend together.

If I went to the big-boy store and shopped every aisle, I would always, always, always pick you two.

Love, Mama


Dear Stevie,

You are a methodical perfectionist, and that, my sweet boy, comes straight from daddy. From the time you were very small, it was obvious that you were a carbon copy of your daddy. That tickles me to pieces because daddy pays close attention and can make very important decisions very quickly, which is a great gift to possess, especially if you end up marrying someone who requires a list, a sharpie and a 48-hour notice before making any decision. In every single thing you do, I can see your little wheels turning. You love to learn and you prefer to be precise and correct and perfect and I love you for that, because? um, the perfectionist part? Um, straight from me.


This flair for the dramatic that you seem to have inherited? Sweet mercy. I get all excited watching you retell a story, because I totally understand why it is necessary for your voice to get louder and your arms to wave. Um, not sure if you realize this or not, but sweet boy, that whole scene, is um, straight from mama’s autobiography.

And it delights me.

Hear me. It. Delights. Me.

You finished up your third season of basketball, and I will go ahead and apologize for screaming like a crazy person at your games. I never played the first second of an organized sport, but after three years of sitting in those stands, I never get bored of watching you play. You have decided that you want to give baseball a try which is very exciting but, ohmyword! I am thinking of all the one-hundred-degree heat and humidity days we are certain to have. But alas, me and my big mouth will be there cheering you on from the stands. You just never know what you are going to be great at, so I say give it all you have sweet boy. I look forward to baseball season and I look forward to watching you learn the sport.

I love you and I love being your mama.

Love, Mom


Dear Alex,

You are such a fun and entertaining boy. I am amazed at how you have matured over the past few months. One of my favorite things is to watch your little determined self attempt to do something. Daddy mentioned a few days ago that you and I have the same tolerance level.


That’s not such a bad thing, but the earlier you get that under control, the easier life will be for you. Take it from me, because I should know.

How is that sometimes you can be the cuddliest, sweetest boy who readily gives out kisses and hugs and then the very next minute be the boy who WILL NEVER AGAIN WEAR THOSE SHOES, EAT THAT FOOD, OR PLAY THAT GAME? It is so frustrating sometimes, but if I’m being honest, um, you are that kid my mama warned me about. You know the one? The one that she hopes I have that is exactly like me. Um, yeah, I got him. And I love you so much sweet boy.

We have talked at length about the importance of thinking before you speak and I need to confess to you that everytime I jump onto you about doing that, God is also speaking to me about it. SO. We can continue to work on that together. Ahem.

This month, you had the all-important five-year-old check-up, complete with required immunizations for kindergarten.

[Excuse me while I grab a tissue.]

Holy crap, I have no idea what I will do with myself when the time comes.

The nurses administered two shots in both legs and you, my sweet boy, were a trooper. It broke my heart to hold your hand and stand beside you, but you were so tough, you cried for maybe five seconds when it was over. And now, you are bragging to people all over town that you are ready to go to “big school” because you’ve had lots of shots.

Phew. It pains me to type that.

Just like Stevie, you are geared up to play t-ball this year. For five years we have watched you and wide open self wreak havoc on anything that got in your way. And now? You’re gonna do all that with a wooden baseball bat. I can’t hardly wait to watch you play. I am looking forward to a great year sweet boy. Go out there, do your best, and have fun. And don’t mind me screaming like a crazy person in the stands.

I love you sweet boy.

Love, Mama.


*Just So You Know is a monthly letter I write to our boys.

Just So You Know

To: The Dynamic Duo

From: Your mama

Date: October 8, 2010


Dear Stevie,

Well, after waiting seven L-O-N-G years, it has finally happened. That crooked, stubborn, front tooth that hung on and on finally met its demise when your old Sunday School teacher (who just loves to pull loose teeth) came at your rubbing her hands like she was getting ready to make a million dollar deal. She took one look at the thing, armed herself with a tissue and yanked that thing out quickly and painlessly. I was impressed with her talent because I had pulled and pulled on the thing for the better part of thirty minutes with all the umph I could muster and didn’t have a lick of luck.

You went from looking like Mater


to Nanny McPhee.

It will probably be several weeks before the other tooth comes out and it won’t be soon enough for me. You have teeth growing in behind teeth, on top of teeth and beside teeth. I hate to break the news to you sweet boy but I see a mouth full of braces in your future. And probably sooner than later.

You are having a great time in second grade and you received a wonderful mid-term report. You thrive on learning and apparently inherited your dad’s ability to solve logical math problems which thrills me to no end because I have probably reached the peak of my mathematical expertise and will most likely not be able to assist you anymore with homework because you are now working on the more difficult math problems that include things like division and regrouping.

And speaking of homework, please, please, please can you be a little more attentive to what you’re supposed to be bringing home and less attentive to, oh, I don’t know, things going on in your classroom that are really none of your business. I get it. Really I do. Because I am quite possibly the nosiest person I know, believe me when I say, I get it. For some reason you know way more about a lot of things  than you should and I often find myself asking you, “How do you know that?” way too often.

You are way into Transformers, Super Hero Squad, Wii Baseball, and reading. You are a reading machine and have the most accelerated reader points in your classroom.

Scouts is in full swing again, and I must admit I teared up when I saw you in your full-blown cub-scout uniform. My heart skipped a beat as I tried to wrap my brain around the fact that you are almost EIGHT years old. EIGHT! YEARS! OLD!

I have no idea where the time is going. I want to stop it or pause it or something.

I love you, sweet boy!




Dear Alex,

A-R, you are so very funny. I crack up daily at the things you ask me. A couple of days ago, you asked me what pigs are afraid of. I scramble to answer with something that sounds reasonable and no sooner do I answer your question, you ask another.

It’s hard to imagine what goes through your mind everyday. When I pick you up from school, you are so chatty about who you played with and what you did. I enjoy hearing your take on your little friends and hearing about all the things you are learning. You enjoy sharing rhymes and songs that you have learned and that is such a change from last year when you didn’t want to share squat.

You are a bundle of life and love and sweetness and stubborness all wrapped up in one cool package.

You have no fear and enjoy doing things that make me a nervous wreck.

And now you’re asking for a pogo stick.

You and Stevie sang a duet in church for the first time and it was precious. You sang, “I Have Decided” by Selah. My heart leaped for joy and I was a proud mama. I’m proud of you and appreciate you stepping out to do something you weren’t quite sure you could do. You did awesome!

You remind me daily that you will soon be five.

If there is one thing that I know, it’s that you will be five years old in 25 days. I’m not happy about it and I don’t get to vote on it, but I know it will happen with or without my permission and that makes me so sad because that means that you will no longer be four and I LIKE FOUR. It has been so much fun.

You have decided to have a Tom & Jerry birthday which makes perfect sense because you watch Tom & Jerry every single day and giggle like its the very first time you’ve seen it. You like Jerry better than Tom because “Tom is mean somtimes” and because “Jerry is so funny!”

You know what, sweet boy? I think you are funny. I enjoy being your mommy.

I love you to the moon and back,


P.S. I love it when you call me mama.