The Girl…


Once upon a time, there was a girl named Natalie. She was born on Mother’s Day weekend of 2008. With her arrival came a HUGE change for her parents. Not only would they learn how to soothe a screaming baby who cried for days/weeks/months on end, but they’d also learn that there is absolutely nothing in this world as awesome as watching a child grow up…

They watched as she learned to walk, talk, dance and sing. They’ve watched her fall down, and get back up. They’ve seen her cry for no reason, and for very good reasons as well. They’ve seen her yell and storm away from them in anger. They’ve felt her small arms wrapped around their necks to hug them tightly. Each year, the arms getting longer and stronger. They’ve watched her succeed and also fail. They’ve watched her grow for 8 whole years as time flew past at a rate that, looking back seemed far too fast.

At 8 years old, Natalie “The Boss” Baldwin is a strong-willed, somewhat overly opinionated young girl who loves her barn filled with animals, wants to be a vet when she grows up, and couldn’t imagine ever hanging out with her mother. She’s a daddy’s girl through and through. She doesn’t play with dolls, but with barn cats, chickens, bunnies and dirty pigs. She works hard and plays even harder. She has a big heart that she wears proudly on her sleeve. If you ask her for help, she won’t hesitate (unless you’re her mother). She also has a fierce attitude, quick temper and could easily be your worst enemy if you get on her bad side. Trust me, I know this already. Natalie is everything an 8 year old girl should be. Happy, healthy and filled with hope.

Today we celebrate our #1 girl. The girl in a straw hat and purple converse hi-tops. The girl who I watched pile bricks on the lawn tractor seat so she’d be heavy enough to make it run. The girl who doesn’t walk or run, but skips along. The girl who likes her music loud and her clothes brightly coloured. The girl who started it all.

Happy 8th Birthday Ms. Natalie!







3 Cheers For 3 Year-Old Millie!

It’s official. My baby is three! For the past three years I was certain that Millie would be a baby forever. As bad as it is to say, I tried to rush her through the baby stages as fast as I could. I wanted her to grow up and fit in with her brother and sister more. I needed her to be a big girl. And now… she is and I’m just a little sad about it. I can’t lie and say I wish she was a tiny infant again, because I DO NOT. But I can say that I wish that she stays three forever. Millie at three is the most entertaining little being around. She’s completely one of a kind. She’s clever and imaginative and knows exactly what she wants. She’s the little girl who gets what she wants because she’s not afraid to ask for it….over and over and over again. Millie at three is the little girl who talks to herself. Who plays for hours all alone creating food in her toy kitchen. She has parties with her stuffed animals, plays follow the leader with herself and hates being bossed around by her older sister. She’s always on the move, and is quite sneaky about what she’s up to (which is NOT my favourite thing about her). I think her Aunt had the best description of her. “She’s a smart, independent, strong-willed silent type. Screams success to me.”

For her birthday this year she asked for 3 things. 1. A monkey. A real one. 2. A telescope so she “can see EVERYTHING.” 3. A lion. But not a real one. No. It would eat our dog Ty.

Like I said, the girl makes me laugh every single day.

So… Three cheers for my sweet three year old Amelia! Happy Birthday Mills… You have added so much to our family in just three short years. Without you, we wouldn’t be complete!



Millie31 Millie33 millie34

The Force Is Strong With This One.

Five years ago, in a galaxy far far away, a baby boy was born. The council named him Jack…


I can hardly believe it myself, but my little Jedi is five whole years old. How did that happen? In the past year he’s become more and more of a boy, and less and less of a baby. He gets irritated at the “baby” cartoons his sister watches and has started talking back in a way I hoped would never happen. Just the other day he yelled “Where are my clothes, minions?!” Minions? Is he referring to his father and I as his minions? How does he even know that word?

Jack is and always will be the boy who makes me smile ear to ear. He’s kind and sweet, and downright hilarious. His teachers tell me that Jack is always concerned with other people’s feelings. He’s always the mediator and peacekeeper. I’m told that he always listens and is always eager to learn. This is shocking to me, considering his somewhat disruptive behaviour at home. He’s the wild animal who jumps out of the car window instead of opening the door. He’s the kid who refuses to walk down the stairs, but prefers to ride the banister down. He’s the kid who has taken to “hulking out” when he’s frustrated. And yet, he’s the good kid at school? I’m so confused.

Five years went by so fast. I really can’t believe it.

When Jack blows out his birthday cake candles and makes his wishes for the perfect Lego set, Star Wars action figure or other weird toy I don’t quite understand the importance of, I will be thinking of my five wishes. Five wishes for my sweet five year old.

1. May you always be the peacekeeper. Continue to be the person who helps to fix problems instead of creating them. Always think of other people and try to see things from their point of view as well as your own. At the age of 5, you’re doing a great job at this so far.

2. May you always smile and laugh at the simple things in life. I know that as you get older you’ll have to deal with stress and sadness and even anger. But don’t let those negative things cloud your innate blue-sky personality. Your smile and laughter is contagious. Don’t ever stop sharing it.


3. May you never lose your passion for random knowledge. One of my favourite things about you is how you can recite history and geography facts on a whim. You retain so much of the details and I think that’s important. Life is all in the details. Keep paying attention.

4. May you always be the brother and friend you are today. You’re one of the most loyal little humans I’ve ever met. I’ve watched how you care for both of your sisters and your friends and it makes me so proud. Be true to those few who will always stand with you.

5. May you always dance in the kitchen with your mama. Really, it’s a simple wish of mine. I never ever want you to stop that. You can be embarrassed by me in front of your friends. I get it. I’m old and therefore NOT cool. You don’t need to kiss me before you get on the bus anymore. I can handle that. But the dancing. I’m not letting that go.

Happy birthday to my #1 Jedi… The Force is strong with this one.


Happy 6th Birthday Natalie!

Dear six-year old Natalie,

Now that all of your friends have gone home and the party is officially over, I can take time to wish you a very happy birthday. Today you are six years old. It seems like just yesterday that I held you for the first time. Your arrival marked my very first Mother’s Day. It was surreal. Meeting you changed me forever. It was about this time at night that you were born. Shortly after 9 p.m. on May 10th, 2008. The next morning, I held you while someone brought me my first Mother’s Day breakfast. I don’t remember the food that was on that hospital tray, but I do remember the little laminated card that came alongside it that said “Thank A Mom Today.” I still have the card. I don’t think I’ll ever throw it away. Then I had no idea what being a mom really meant. I’m still learning six years later…

I’ve struggled with what I was going to write for your birthday this year. Partly I think, because I’ve been a tad bit sad that you’re getting so big. I’ve watched you grow from a little baby that I could carry in one arm, to a small girl that doesn’t need to be carried at all. You have changed so much throughout the years, and it scares me a little to watch your chubby baby cheeks thin into a little girl’s face.

Today you woke me up at 5 a.m. by jumping into my bed to tell me that it was time for your party. You were so excited, and so was I. The night before, while you slept, I made you a cake and decorated the dining room with streamers and balloons. It was a special surprise for you. One that I knew you’d love. One of the things I adore about you is your enthusiasm and desire to make all things special. When I ask you what you want for lunch, you always say a picnic. You think eating your lunch at the table is fine, but a picnic is special, and therefore more fun. You’re always looking for ways to make things more fun. I hope you never lose that. One year when you were younger, perhaps 3 or so, you decided that you needed special Christmas plates for your toy kitchen. You couldn’t imagine serving up a delicious meal of plastic food without festive plates for the holiday season. You love ALL holidays because you know it means decorating and celebrating – two of the things you are so good at. Every occasion is a special occasion for you. I love that. I’m glad that you are always looking to celebrate things, no matter how mundane. 

When your friends arrived, you happily ran around with them and spent almost the entire 4 hours laughing. It made me so happy, even if I was a little overwhelmed by 12 kids running around the yard. I’m glad that at 6 years old you have lots of little girlfriends to giggle with, and celebrate with. After the cake and presents, your friends went home and you looked so very tired. I could tell that all you wanted to do was curl up in your bed. When I kissed you goodnight you said “Thanks for the streamers mom.”

Thank you, Natalie! Thank you for noticing that I tried my best to make your day special – even if it was with balloons and streamers from the dollar store. Thank you for being the best daughter a mom could hope to have. You were the best Mother’s Day gift I’ve ever received. 

Happy birthday to our leader of the pack. Our number one girl. The sensitive and loving, heart on her sleeve, sassypants Nattie B. We love you always, and forever!



p.s. A picture of you on your special day.


Look Who’s Two!!


Your actual due date was March 10, 2012, but I was sure that you’d be born on March 12th just to spite me. However, on February 20th, I felt the tiny contractions that meant you were on the way (I had no idea, even the third time around). At the time I was making many pans of lasagna for the freezer. That night, we sat down and ate for the last time as a family of four. We had no idea. I sliced into the pan of lasagna and as I put it on the plate, I was delighted with how perfect it turned out. I’ve made many pans of lasagna, for many years, but that night, I got it absolutely bang on perfect. A foreshadowing of things to come maybe? At 11 p.m. I woke your dad up, unsure if it was labour or intense gas from the delicious lasagna. Turns out, it was you! The midwife came at midnight, and by 2:37 a.m. I was holding you. Not only did I make the perfect lasagna that day, but I also made a perfect baby. You were cute as a button, and the first thing the midwife said was, “this girl is the spitting image of her dad.” She was right. 

You were a very sweet baby. As the youngest, you learned early how to go with the flow. You didn’t keep me up all night with screaming or crying. You were never sick. You were perfect little Millie. As a two year old, you’re still cute as a button, sweet as can be, and smart as a whip. You make me laugh every day. Your brother and sister love you and are extremely protective of their “Mills.” You love Dora and The Bubble Guppies, playing dolls and letting Jack hide you in very small spaces in the house (like cupboards and drawers). 

To celebrate your birthday I think it is only fitting that I make you a perfect lasagna. I did this last year as well, although you probably won’t remember that. I will always make you lasagna for your birthday. No matter what. It reminds me of one of the best days of my life. It reminds me of the day you joined our family and made us complete. We love you Mills!

May you never know anything that can’t be cured by your mama’s lasagna!!



I didn’t have a picture of you eating lasagna, so I added one of you and your favourite snack – POPCORN!!





Happy Birthday Jack!

Dearest Jack,

I can’t believe how fast time flies by. In a few days you’ll be four years old. It seems impossible. Today I dropped you off at daycare and you were smiling at me with your floppy Yoda toque covering most of your bright blue eyes. You were playing in the snow, waving and laughing while I drove away.

Now that I have a minute, I think it’s time to write to you, my 3 year old Jack. After all, you’ll never be 3 again. It’s time to celebrate, even if I’m just a tad bit sad that you’re growing up so fast. 

Here goes…

The Basics:

Favourite food: Peanut Butter Sandwiches. Hands down. If you are given the choice, your answer is ALWAYS the same.

Favourite Animal: Penguins. You have a wide selection of stuffed ones that mean the world to you. You spent most of the past year with a very strong attachment to “baby penguin.” 

Favourite cartoon characters: Batman, Spiderman & Iron Man. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (which you call inja inja turtles).

Favourite things to do: Play Lego Star Wars on the Xbox 360. Play with your friends. Torment your sisters. Ask a zillion questions about very random things.

Those small tidbits don’t even come close to describing how awesome you are at this age. You are the heart of our family. You are a very even-tempered, kind little boy. You are our “Happy Jack,” always smiling and laughing. You’re also the biggest talker in the family. Conversations with you are always interesting and filled with questions. You’ve also become very creative in the past year. You’re constantly building forts and re-creating stories you’ve seen or heard. I’m also shocked to notice how much you love singing and dancing, and boy, let me tell you, you’ve got moves!! 

Sometimes you can be shy and unsure of yourself, and that’s OK. You’re used to having your big sister lead the way. You’ll make your own way soon enough. Right now you depend on Natalie to take care of you. Even though she sometimes complains, that sister of yours needs you just as much as you need her. 

Your baby sister Amelia is turning two this month, and guess what Jack? She idolizes you. She thinks you’re the coolest thing since sliced bread. You’re always so careful to try to include Millie. You are always the first by her side when she’s hurt. Always the first to give her a kiss and make it better. I hope you two are always close.

What more can I say to my Baby Jack, Jackman, Jackie-B? Quite simply: I love you more than you will ever know. The other night I climbed into your bed with you to hug you goodnight. I said “you’re my number one boy, Jackie.” Your reply made me want to cry. You wrapped your little arms around me and said: “and you’re my number one girl, mom.”

Happy birthday to my favourite boy in the universe!