Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Happy Holidays - 2011

Dear Riley,

Sorry I haven’t been writing your letters as often as usual here lately. I have an excuse! Between work and this baby factory, I’m completely drained anytime I have a few minutes to spare. Hopefully I’m over the first hump and will do better. I love you.

Despite all the changes, we did manage to get a few family pictures made. I was almost frantic about having pictures made this year for the Holidays. I know it will be the last Christmas with just the three of us, and I wanted you to have something to show for it.


For some reason, Dad was sitting “bolt upright” in these poses.


You’re in this “stage” where when you smile, it’s completely forced and un-photogenic. How long do stages last? This one has gone on for about a year now!


This is the only Santa picture we are doing this year. I actually think it would be the most successful picture with Santa so far, but I don’t want to face Broadway Square Mall.


I love profile pictures! You’re so beautiful!


The day after I made the appointment to have our picture made, you had some kind of collision in your room that resulted in a black eye (left eye). Your dad and I were in the kitchen so we’re not really sure what happened. You said you hit your T.V. I used some make-up and tried to cover the damage, but you can still see your black eye.


We’ve got a super Christmas planned for you! Every morning you ask, “Is it Christmas Day yet?” Anytime a commercial comes on the T.V. for a toy, you ohh and ahh and ask for it.

It’s a great time of year and we’re all very happy. I love you more each day. You’re my best girl, always.

I love you so much!


Monday, November 28, 2011

Big Sister

Dear Riley,

You’re going to be a big sister! It’s very emotional to consider my Riley a big sister, but get ready, because this summer you will be one!


Your daddy and I are very excited to add to our family. Most of the time you are too. I showed you my C-section scar (which is only a faint white line on my lower belly and looks awesome) and you asked, “Did that baby scratch you?” You’ve also asked if the baby in my belly is wearing any pajamas. See, already looking out for your little brother/sister. :)

So you pretty much understand that there is a baby in my belly, but I don’t think you realize what is going to happen.

You will be the best big sister though, with out a doubt. You are very tender and caring and you love to help me. Anything that makes you feel important gives you a huge sense of pride. You love to be bragged on when you do something nice too. I can see all of these characteristics coming in handy this summer. You’re great big sister-material.



You really have an interesting personality and a huge imagination. Tonight you were talking to me about your “style.” It involved wearing headbands around your waist. I don’t know where you came up with that.

Sometimes you stay with Grandad while I am at work and Daddy is at school. We’ve got a fairly regular routine. I overheard you playing with your babies the other day and this is what you said to the babies: “I’m going to work. And I’m taking my babies to Grandad’s.” You know Grandad loves you and takes care of you, and you can’t imagine how much that means to me. Grandad and Grandmom being able to care for you is one of the greatest gifts our family has been given.

You are so special and amazing to me. You are growing up before my eyes and sometimes I just stare at you. At how pretty you are. At how serious you can be. At how loving you are. I’m happy that you’re healthy and growing up, but I’m so sad these days are passing so quickly.



Love you to the moon and back.

Love, Mama

Saturday, October 29, 2011

A Comparison

Dear Riley,

I grew up with a cousin who was 6 months older than me. You are 7 months older than Braxton.

Here are you and Braxton at your 3rd birthday party:


Here are me and my cousin on my 3rd birthday:


Here is your cake on your 3rd birthday:


Your theme was fairies, with Tinkerbell sharing the top tier with the number 3.

Here is my cake on my 3rd birthday:


In black letters my cake says, “Adoption Papers.” For those that know me, it’s probably not a big surprise that I don’t find that funny… at all.

Love you so much!

Love, Mama

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

East Texas State Fair

Dear Riley,

At the end of September I always look forward to the East Texas State Fair. My daddy ALWAYS took me and Aunt Ma. Interestingly, the East Texas State Fair was the first date your dad and I had after you were born. We left you with Mamaw while we went to the fair.

We were really excited to take you to the fair this year. You’re just now tall enough so that you could ride a few of the rides. I think you had a great time!


Somehow I managed to get you and your daddy on the Ferris wheel, no small task. We all enjoyed the view!




I love this next picture. Daddy volunteered to ride the spinning apple ride (I can’t think of the actual name of that ride right now). Your daddy has a tight grip on your wrist because he was spinning the apple so fast you were sliding around. And your face shows just how much fun you were having.


The conversation that took place in the apple:

Daddy: “I’m getting so dizzy!”

Girl #1: “Me too!”

Girl #2: “Me too!”

You: “Me neither!”

Next we put you on a motorcycle. You liked it, too.



Our last stop was the Midway games. You played the game where you choose any duck and win a prize. Haha, can’t go wrong with that.




Love you both so much.

Love, Mama

Mini Volcanoes!

I found this craft on my new love, Pinterest!

Supplies: food coloring, baking soda, vinegar, cookie sheet and medicine dropper.


Pour a little vinegar in a cup and add a color. Spread the baking soda on a cookie sheet, and using the medicine dropper drop drops of vinegar onto the baking soda. Little mini volcanoes will start popping up!


Riley loves to line things up and organize. She even organizes her volcanoes. I love this girl!


Fun little project and easy clean up!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

My Heroine

Dear Grandmom,

I’ve been wanting to write you a letter for a long time. I want to tell you so many things.


Thank you. Thank you for raising me and loving me. Thank you for always picking me up at practices. Thank you for never being late. I could always depend on your white car to be there. You sat through many basketball and volleyball games. You drove all over East Texas to watch me play. You brought snacks before the game in case I was hungry.

Thank you for putting up with my attitude. I had a smart mouth many times, and somehow you resisted the urge to slap it. Thanks.

Thank you for always giving me clean clothes. Now that I work at a school, it’s easy to see the kids who don’t have someone to wash and iron their clothes. I never had to worry about not having something clean to wear. Thanks for always ironing my clothes. Ironing my clothes was that extra touch and extra work that you didn’t have to do.

Thanks for the food. Grandmom, you were a fantastic cook! And you always varied the menu! I was a teen-ager before I was ever able to experience a T.V. dinner. I thought I was missing out on life because I never got to eat Hamburger Helper. You never relied on Hamburger Helper to feed us. Instead, we ate things like cabbage, turnip greens, meatloaf, and stew. Some of my favorite menu items you cooked were pizza bread, peanut butter rice crispy treats, garlic bread (made out of hot dog buns) chalupas, taco soup, and mini pizzas.

Thank you for caring about my daughter the way you do. I’m forever grateful that she will remember you. Thank you for loving her.


Thank you for the memories. Our drives to Nocona, Chandler Nursing Home on Fridays, summers with you, and picturing you in the kitchen and at the clothes line are memories I won’t ever forget.

I never imagined I would have you in my life and not be able to talk to you. I completely took you for granted.

I’m so sorry I didn’t tell you all these things before Alzheimer’s destroyed your memories.

I would give anything to have you back for just a little while. Even though I’m used to this life, the void you used to fill is only growing. I want to ask you so many things about being a mom, about your life, about being married, about being a friend. I miss you so much.

I’m so sorry I didn’t ask you all these things before Alzheimer’s destroyed your memories.

The Grandmom I have today is the sweetest person I know. You tell me how much you miss me and always want me to spend the night. You love to give hugs and kisses. You love to laugh at Riley.

I love you so much. I hope you knew that, and I hope you know that today. I couldn’t have ever asked for anyone better. You’re a great grandmother and great-grandmother.

Thank you for being my Mother when you didn’t have to be.


Love, Jaycie

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Riley Claire: 3 year newsletter

Dear Riley,

Happy Birthday! It’s really hard to imagine you are already 3! You’re a real person now, complete with opinions, wants, musts, and have tos. It’s not always easy to make you happy, especially when you haven’t had a nap, but you make me happy every second of every day.


I’ve been kind of light on updates and I guess that’s because school just started back. It takes me quite a while to get back in the swing of things, and 5 weeks in I still don’t think I’m used to working! You are staying home with your Daddy again this year and you couldn’t be happier. You really love your Daddy. He lets you act like a princess all day long.

He’s great with you and we are so lucky he’s able to stay home with you. But, I think sometimes he is lacking in the supervision department. I would NEVER let you take 25 pictures on our new camera.





Instead, while I’m in charge you do things like this:


Look closely; you’ve put several princess shoes, your purse, a teething ring, a water gun and various other odds and ends in the refrigerator.

You’ve really started playing with baby dolls lately. You love to be a little mommy. I can totally hear myself coming out in you too.  You tell your dolls things I’ve told you, like:

“You’re the best girl in the whole world.”

“You want to eat something? Huh?”

“You’re my best friend.”

“That’s hilarious!”

Your birthday party was a huge success. Your Daddy suggested we have the party at a nearby Sonic, and while I wasn’t keen on that location at first, Sonic turned out to be the best place for your party.


You were really impressed with your name on this sign.


Everyone loved playing in the sand with their shoes off.


I made you a fairy cake the night before. Above, Braxton is trying to remove one of my strategically placed fairies. You weren’t very happy about it! It looks like you were saying, “Hey!”


And then you both got in trouble for trying to mess with the cake. (My favorite picture. Braxton is hilarious!)

Ignore “The Voice.”



You received lots of presents! Barbies, clothes, princess jewelry, purses, a Tinkerbell dress, etc.!



You were pretty tired after your party. It’s hard work being a 3 year old princess!

You’re such a big girl! When I look at you I don’t see a little baby or even a little toddler; I see a little girl. An amazing girl.

Since these letters are to you, I feel like I can brag about you some. You are so smart! Tonight I was in the kitchen cooking and got an egg out of the refrigerator. This was our conversation:

Me: “I need an egg.”

You: “That’s where the baby birds live, Mom.”

Me: Laughing, “I know. Baby birds hatch out of eggs don’t they?”

You: Very serious tone, “No, they burst out of the eggs. When they get ready, they just burst out!”

Me: “Burst?!”

Many of the things you know come from television. You watch television, but you aren’t glued to it. I’d say you probably watch maybe two hours of television a day. So some of the things you know have been picked up on your own. Grandad couldn’t believe it the other day when you identified an “island” on a commercial.

Your Dad and I are very proud to be your parents. You are our reason for love and life.

Love you forever and ever!

Love, Mama

Thursday, August 25, 2011


Dear Riley,

You are a hummer. You hum to your own tune.

I love your hums.


Friday, August 19, 2011

Riley Claire–Summer 2011 Newsletter

Dear Riley,
I will always remember the Summer of 2011 as the shortest summer ever. Time went by so quickly!
This summer started off for us with the Casey Anthony trial. I’ll not go into detail, but this case and trial will be remembered for a long time, much like the O.J. Simpson trial in the 1990s. I started following the case when I was still pregnant with you. I wasn’t someone who was consumed with the case, but I generally knew what was going on.
The trial was broadcast live on many television channels and the Internet. In order to maintain your happiness, I watched most of the trial on the Internet while you watched your “toons” on the television.  I’ll always remember my reaction to the verdict and calling your dad at work to tell him.
At the beginning of July we made our annual pilgrimage to Louisiana.
Something new we did this summer was spend time taking pictures in cemeteries. is a website that offers virtual cemeteries. Grandad got me hooked on going to area cemeteries and taking a picture of the headstones. Then, I would upload the pictures to the respective memorial. This took up a lot of our time this summer!
You were usually a pretty good sport. You liked to run and find your name on a headstone. One Findagrave trip took us all the way to Center, Texas.
This cemetery, East Hamilton Cemetery, is located in the Sabine National Forest. Way in there.
Findagrave led to family tree research. I was able to trace Grandmom’s grandmother’s family, the Fulghams, all the way back to Medieval England. Apparently the Fulgham family was a pretty big deal back then, and even today there is a Fulgham Family Association.
You went to vacation bible school for the first time this year. I was a little worried about you being just a tad too young. I stayed the whole time while you were there and was usually able to spy on you throughout the evening. Most nights you told me I needed to leave. It was hilarious to just sit and watch you interacting with the other kids. You really thought you were a big girl!
You also had your very first all-girl sleep over! This was a really fun night!

We wrapped up our summer with a vacation to Galveston. We had an awesome time with Paw-Paw and Tio.
It’s really hard for me to imagine that school starts on Monday. I had to work a couple days this week and you definitely were suffering with withdrawals from your Mama! It’s extremely hard to leave when you are crying, “Don’t leave me!” I think some of your cry is a little fake since you know where I’m going. You love to go to my classroom. You write on the board and color and play games; it’s your favorite.
Aunt Ma made the observation a few weeks ago that you don’t look like a toddler anymore. She said you were starting to look like a little girl. She’s very right. You are getting so long and tall. Your language is really amazing. You use big words like delicious to describe smells. If Daddy toots you’ll pinch your nose and say, “That does not smell delicious!”
There are lots of days when I can’t believe the things you know. You knew the beach and sea shells without ever seeing them before. You know what the colors on a red light signal mean. Your memory is incredible too. You remember things from a year ago that we rarely talk about. On our first trip to Delta Lodge in Louisiana, you met Leslie’s dog Flash. This year when we were telling you we were going to Delta Lodge again, you said, “To see Flash?” You weren’t even two when we went last year and not to hurt Flash’s feelings, but we really didn’t talk about him much in the year between visits. You are really good at remembering names and people as well.
One thing I love about you, you’ve finally arrived at the age where you want to lay your head in my lap while you watch t.v. It’s so nice to play with your hair and just look at you. You’re beautiful.
I won’t go into details here, but you also reached a major milestone in personal hygiene. I could not be more proud of you for being such a big girl! Not to mention the extra $25 a week we have!
It’s coming up on three years and I’m just blown away. Things don’t stay the same for long, and having you is proof of that. I still remember my little baby and how precious you were. I look at the baby clothes I kept and just hold them close to my chest. Time has gone so fast.
Everything about you is great. Your smile is amazing. Your laugh is heartwarming. Your hugs melt my world and your tears crush my heart. I am so proud of the little girl you have become! No one could ever replace you! I love you forever.
Love, Mama