My Dearest  Mary Catherine, 

Where do I begin?  How can I ever put to words how much December 8, 2011 changed our lives?   How can I ever explain what your birth has done to us?  

How it has put more love, and passion, and happiness and, fear and overall, color in our lives.  

There are no words, but for now, there are two years worth of incredible memories, and there will be many, many, many more to come.

Two years ago, I wish I knew how much your smile would light up our world, how much your eyes would open to your soul, how much your laugh would radiate through our house, how much your goofy personality would help ease our fears, how much your soft blond hair nestled up against my face would make my heart skip a beat.  How EVERY milestone you reach "big or little" would bring us to tears.  


You see, on the day you were born, we didn't know you if you would ever walk or talk or smile or eat; or that you would have such a hilariously demanding personality, or quite a little Irish temper, or always try to make yourself the center of attention in a room full of people.  Two years ago, the picture painted was much more grim, and we felt so alone.  We were scared and sad and shocked and more and more scared by the minute.  You were in a room floors below me being cared for by women I didn't yet know (and now know were the best NICU nurses around)…and me, I was a basket case, and an empty shell.  It was the strangest day of my life.  So much love and happiness and so much fear and sadness, all balled into one little 24 hour period.  It's hard to explain, and there is no way that anyone could ever understand what your daddy and I went through that day…but it doesn't matter, because we knew we loved you from the second we saw you,  and wanted to do everything we could to make the best life for you!


At that time,  we didn't even know the amount of surgeries you would have ahead of yourself, and we never would have imagined how amazingly well you would have recovered from each of them.  (Mom and Dad are still working on our psychological recoveries) ;)   We never could have imagined that you would someday be a big sister, and the BEST big sister around, to your bff Maggie.  


We couldn't have guessed how obsessed you would be with Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Baby Signing Times, all things baby dolls, bath time, swinging at the park, snuggling before bed time, showing off your "mean mug", and of course, suckers :)


Two years ago we didn't realize how much your birth would mean to tens of thousands of people around this world.  Your beautiful smile and incredible strength has brought together communities and taught hundreds, if not thousands, of children about empathy, loyalty, friendship and kindness!


On the night you were born, we received so many message telling us that you handpicked us as your parents…we now know this is true, and we can only hope we are making YOU as proud as you make US! 


Happy Birthday Big Girl!  We can't wait to see what this next year has in store for us!

(here are a few of our favorite pictures of you from this past year) :)


Love you to the moon baby doll!  Today was a true celebration (even though you were a bit under the weather)!  <3


cinnamon roll birthday breakfast

 Maggie was so excited to celebrate your big day! &nbsp;&lt;3

Maggie was so excited to celebrate your big day!  <3

 And our proudest moment yet...

And our proudest moment yet...

So many of you wonderful people have contacted asking how to send birthday gifts….We are so thankful and humbled by your generosity.  Mary Cate is so very blessed, and there are so many children, today, that are not as lucky to have such support.  We ask that you, instead, please sponsor a child who may need more.

And, Please, Please,…the best birthday gift  you could ever give to Mary Cate, is to teach your child about differences and acceptance!


Kerry, Chris, Mary Cate & Maggie