2nd grade!!

Dear Grace,

You started 2nd grade yesterday…and had an awesome first day. You asked me if I missed you, now that you are back in school. More than you will ever know.

I love you,


what an angel. and a blessing.

what an angel. and a blessing.

You are 7!

Dear Grace,

I began writing this letter a week before your birthday..but something told me to wait a while…that there was more I needed to see before I completed the letter..and boy was there ever. The changes I’d noticed here and there in you before you turned 7 all of a sudden became very evident. You are starting to look older in the face. You were taller than almost every kid in your 1st grade class and the tallest on your soccer team. You are more independent, even more out spoken and much more inquisitive than before. You want to know everything… and have no problem asking.

First grade was relatively easy for you. You had homework every night. At first, I had to help you a lot..but by the 3rd nine weeks, you had a pretty good understanding of what needed to be done each night. Subtraction was a bit of an issue for you but you’ve picked everything else up with ease. Your teacher, Ms. Gloria, loves you and when I sat down with her at your report card conference, she looked at me and said emphatically… “Grace is just a JOY!”

And truly, you are. I know I fuss at you and you don’t like it. I really don’t like it, either…and I tell you that. But sometimes, I have to fuss. Then, a lot of times, I go into the other room and giggle because you’ve done something completely ridiculously funny that causes me to laugh so hard..but I can’t really show you that side of me, yet.

You are showing more and more interest in cooking. You have found a place downtown that you are going to open a cake shop in..and you mean it. You have it all worked out in your mind. You told me today that it will be up and running by the time you are 20. Your exposure to the restaurant over the years has really made quite an impression on you.

At home, you like to sneak into the kitchen and make me things. You particularly like to make salads and you even have your own special salad dressing. You seem to spend a lot of time on the presentation of the food, which reminds me of your Mawmaw Marino. You also like to serve the food to me and speak to me in a very distinguished, fancy voice while doing it.

You are still in soccer. You played on 2 teams this past year and will continue to do so. You are enjoying it more and seem to really understand the game a lot more this year. You’ve been playing on a boys team for the past year, along with your other friend Grace. But that will change next year because of your age… you will have to play on an all girls team. I am curious to see how that will go.

Always the entertainer, you are constantly singing, dancing and putting on shows for everyone and anyone who will watch – each time beginning your performance with “Ladies and gentlemen, portin all ladies…”

You dressed up as Diana Ross this year for Halloween and still randomly ask people if they think you look like Diana Ross –  and  you were the flower girl in your Nanny’s wedding. You amazed me at how attentive you were at your Nanny’s wedding. You took your role as a flower girl very seriously. You learned how to cajun dance at the earth day festival in Baton Rouge and you went to Orange Beach with your best friends. And, as usual, we’ve spent a lot of time in New Orleans, hanging with Aunt Amy and Nicolas.

For your birthday, we had a party at a splash park in Baton Rouge, had dinner at Gino’s with Kenna and Lily and had a party at L’auberge in Lake Charles with family. Kenna came with us to Lake Charles and Uncle Clay took us out on his boat!

And at the end of your birthday weekend, we were dropping off Kenna at her house and you finally decided to ride a bike with no training wheels! I was so proud. I kept saying….DO IT AGAIN! And in that moment, I watched you turn 7.

Favorite Music:  Kidz Bop, Beastie Boys, Feelin Good by Nina Simone, Beyonce, Day2Day Grindin by Mike Jones, Magnificent and your boy Chamillion from the color changing clique, Kanye West (sorry mom) – you are particularly fond of a song called “American Boy” by Estelle/Kanye West.

Things that you say that make me smile: Also (you never say “too”)..it’s always “Also” – and “weeping” – you always talk about the cat weeping, never crying.

Speaking of cats, your cat, Beatrice had an unfortunate accident this year..and we now have a new cat. We/you named her Ruby Rose Flower Armstrong. You are so attached to her – and carry her around like a baby, as long as she’ll let you… She is equally as attached to you…and ‘weeps’ when you are not around.

There is so much more I can say…from your love of art and your family and friends to your ability to light up a room and strike up a conversation with just about anyone. More than anything, I hope you keep the confidence you have in yourself now. You are such a happy, beautiful child – always smiling, full of energy and you have an incredibly active imagination.

Please, Gracie, continue to believe in yourself and dream big dreams –  and remember, no matter what you decide and who you become, I will always support you, love you and be on your side.

I love you,


Diana Rocks

Dear Grace, tonight, as I showed you videos of Diana Ross (aka rocks) who you are proudly dressing up as for Halloween - you sat in awe of the incredible, powerful, beautiful woman with “poofy hair”. I told you that you are just like her, bold, beautiful, powerful, talented…. You cried this morning because you hate your hair. I wish you weren’t so worried at age 6 about such things.  Don’t be ashamed of who you are, how you look or what you believe. You are a miracle and loved more than you will ever know. Be yourself. Everything else will fall into place. And I will always be here.  Love, mama

Dear Grace,
Tonight, as I showed you videos of Diana Ross (aka rocks) who you are proudly dressing up as for Halloween – you sat in awe of the incredible, powerful, beautiful woman with “poofy hair”. I told you that you are just like her, bold, beautiful, powerful, talented…. You cried this morning because you hate your hair. I wish you weren’t so worried at age 6 about such things. Don’t be ashamed of who you are, how you look or what you believe. You are a miracle and loved more than you will ever know. Be yourself. Everything else will fall into place. And I will always be here.
Love, mama

You Are 6!

Dear Grace,

As I’m typing this letter, you are reading it out loud to me. You have grown so much in the last year. Reading, Writing, Addition, Subtraction. You are very good in math and very hard on yourself when it comes to your school work. This comes as a surprise to me, because I was just the opposite in school.

You just finished Kindergarten a couple of weeks ago. Every week, we’d go through your school work…and every week you’d come home with a stack of papers on Friday – most of which were perfect. But you’d always manage to find the few you had red X’s open and comment how you ‘got it all wrong.’ I’d try to place the emphasis on all the good work you did, but you really weren’t hearing it. As I always say…”I’m not asking you to be perfect, just do your best.” And I honestly believe you have.

To say you were a social butterfly at school is an understatement. Your friends were not limited to the Kindergarten class, you made friends  with the Pre-K class – as well as ‘big kids’ all the way up to the 8th graders. As I walked you to class in the mornings, you were always greeted by most everyone, by name – even parents.

You are still known by everyone at the restaurant, as well. You have now infiltrated the entire place, finally figuring out that Vincent and Little Gino are really where it’s at…and you use this knowledge to get anything you want there. You seem very interested in how things work in the kitchen. You ask a lot of questions about cooking when you’re there. You also love to help out in the kitchen at home.

You have no problem walking up to a table of adults and talking to them, especially in a place you feel comfortable. With that being said, new places or places with new people seem to really intimidate you..or as you call it “scare you.” You can have a very sassy attitude at times and can still talk trash with the rest of us. You get it honestly from me and Daddy. We focus a lot on manners and how you speak to people.. because no matter what, we want you to be polite.

You are still in soccer. The season just wrapped up a few weeks ago. You like it..but I wouldn’t say that you love it. I think you like the fact that you are able to see your friends and run around with them, more than anything. You are very active at school and at home. You have a hard time sitting still. Always curious, always inquisitive. You are constantly doing something – and sometimes into things you shouldn’t be into, because of your curiosity.

Physically, you are more beautiful than I ever dreamed you would be. Your skin is perfect and your hair is curly and brown with a lot of red highlights in the sun, especially in the summer. You are already at odds with your curly hair, wishing it was straight..and not so ‘poofy.’ You have your own style and you like to dress yourself..model your clothes and wear makeup. You are always getting into my makeup and trying different things.

You love drawing, painting, telling stories, acting, singing..and entertaining in general. You still have that very dry sense of humor that you get from me…and you are very sensitive, just like me. You love your babies and take care of them all the time, packing them around in a basket and putting them to bed or dressing them. You also love all animals and have a very maternal side to you. You are always thinking about your friends and creating artwork for them…or asking to call them.

I have not been working in an office for several months now, so I get to spend a lot more time with you. I can honestly say these last few months have been some of the best in my life. It’s so nice to spend time with you and truly get to know you – not just in the 2-3 hours after work and when we’re getting dressed in the mornings. We’ve done so much together lately…and we’ve had so much fun. Every year around your birthday I have always felt like I was missing out on so much with you. This year it was a little easier to stomach that you are growing up so fast.

Favorite Music: Britney Spears, Prince, brass bands and anything live. You like playing the drums and I hope to be able to help you explore this interest more very soon.

Favorite TV Shows: iCarly, Tru Jackson & Suite Life on Deck

I could not be any more proud of you, Grace. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t stop and think of how thankful I am for you in my life. You are a blessing to all of us.

Happy Birthday!

I Love you,

Happy 5th Birthday Grace

Dear Grace,

It doesn’t seem like another year has gone by. You will be 5 in just a few weeks. I know it seems to you like it takes forever to get to your next birthday, but to me it goes by in the blink of an eye. People tell me all the time how sweet you are… And they are right. Even at this age, your thoughtfulness and genuine concern for the people you love is evident in everything you do. Emotionally, you are very sensitive, just like me. You cry easily and if there is any indication that you may have upset or hurt someone, it devastates you to the point that its almost impossible to comfort you. I find myself having to put up a brave, strong front at times, when it’s not really my nature, just to try to thicken your skin a little. I used to think you were such a daddy’s girl, and you still are…but lately you’ve become really attached to me. You can be very demanding at times, but I truly love it. I love who you are and the person I see you growing into.

Physically, you are very strong and you still straddle the tom boy/prissy girl line on a moment to moment basis. You are loving soccer. You scored another goal this season and seem to really understand the game.

You are creative. You love to make things… Jewelry, drawings, paintings and you LOVE to write books at school. Your books are so special to me and I will cherish them forever.  You went from day care to pre k at a new school this year. it was a rough few days at the beginning, but you adjusted despite yourself and love it now. Every day when I pick you up from school you have to stop by the gym to see what’s going on in there. You are facsinated by it. You’ve told me you want to be a cheerleader and a basketball player.

Favorite songs: music/madonna, I know I can/nas, everybody nose/nerd, we don’t want no war/michael foster project, ridin dirty/chamillionaire. Yeah, I know I’m wrong for letting you listen to some of these songs… But you do have ME as a mother… You also like some kanye but I won’t list those songs… I’ll definitely be in trouble.

Favorite shows: Phineas and Pherb, Any of the Marvel Comics shows, Spongebob, Scooby Doo

When I wrote this letter last year you were on your way to peeling crawfish all by yourself. This year, you have mastered the art! You have a great appetite and love to try new foods.

Your favorite things to do are to go by ginos and see your mawmaw and just visit with friends in general. You are constantly asking to go by the restaurant, to stop by your nannys or visit with Kenna, James or Charlie. You are definately a social butterfly and it’s already difficult keeping up with your schedule. I can’t imagine how it will be in a few years.

You are and always will be my sweet girl.

Happy Birthday!

I love you,


More letters to Grace can be found at: http://naeruj.blogspot.com/