Motherhood

In Which My Newborn Baby Turns Eight

Joanna Goddard and Toby

Toby is doing the strangest thing this week. Even though he’s my baby at heart, he is somehow turning eight…

Toby

One day old!

Toby

Wolfing it up.

Toby

Singing songs.

Toby

Staring at the pretzel truck.

Toby

Reading with Daddy.

Toby

Halloween dance.

Toby

Brothers.

Toby

Just two dudes eating muffins.

Toby

Going on a date.

Toby

Good grief, it’s you!

Toby

And this is eight.

Toby has always had a big personality. He chats with people on the street. He remembers everyone’s name. He loves to dance. He knows his style (especially blazers). He can have some hard times, but I really understand him, and I can see myself in him. He has been a joy to raise.

It’s funny, too, because these eight years have flown by, but I also can’t remember what my life was like before he arrived on the scene. Even when I think back on long-ago trips or dinners, my mind edits him into the memories, as if he was always there. (Wait, he wasn’t on our honeymoon?) Does that ever happen to you?

Happy Birthday, Toby! We love you!

P.S. Toby and Anton in conversation, and one thing that surprised me about parenting.

  1. Rachel says...

    I discovered your blog when I was pregnant with my daughter, who was born almost exactly a month after Toby, so I have felt a special sense of kinship and resonance as I’ve followed along on this journey. I feel the exact way. Time has expanded and contracted in ways I never thought possible; the newborn phase feels like just a minute and also an eternity ago. Eight feels big, on every level, and like passing through a portal into a new phase of childhood. Much love.

  2. Sasame says...

    Celeste Ng has a line in Little Fires Everywhere that reminds me of this, the feeling that your child was always there, somehow with you in the past before they were born.

    “To a parent, your child wasn’t just a person: your child was a place, a kind of Narnia, a vast eternal place where the present you were living and the past you remembered and the future you longed for all existed at once.”

    I thought it felt so right when I read it and beautifully captures the crazy love you have for your children.

  3. Liliana says...

    ¡Feliz Cumpleaños Toby!
    🎵Estassss sooonnnn las mañanitas🎶 que cantaba el rey David 🎶a los muchachos bonitos se las cantamos asi🎶

  4. Po says...

    Oh gosh, happy birthday to Toby and happy mama day to you. I’ve read your blog way before Toby was born and it’s been such a joy to watch your family grow and hear of their tales. Thank you so much for sharing.

  5. Jessie Frey says...

    Toby is basically my style icon. Happy birthday, rockstar!

  6. Stephanie says...

    No donuts? Did that tradition die out some years ago?

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      this was the first year he didn’t want donuts — he asked for a fancy cake!

  7. Happy birthday, Toby!
    While I don’t have any kids, I do edit my younger siblings into memories all the time.

  8. Happy birthday Toby! It’s been such a joy to watch you grow up (thank you, Joanna, for letting us in and sharing). Every time I board a plane and my impulse is to tap my foot or sigh with impatience, I think of Toby and all the things he loves about flying.

  9. Silvina says...

    When I discovered your blog he had just been born!! Happy birthday to him! :)

  10. Lisa says...

    Happy birthday Toby! Possibly the most stylish 8 year old in the world

    When I was having trouble conceiving, I was off work with a broken leg and went back and read all the Motherhood Monday posts to keep me inspired. I couldn’t wait to have conversations with my 3, 4, 5 year old and go on “dates” with them, like you did with Toby (and then Anton). I now have a little boy and girl and it’s so wonderful being able to put into practice some of the things I learned on the blog.

  11. Nina says...

    Happy Day Toby!

  12. K says...

    Happy Birthday, Toby!! I remember your sweet Nine Months News post when you told your readers Toby was on his way :) time flies

  13. Joy S says...

    HBD sweet Toby! I remember rushing home from school when I was in high school to check the blog to see if he had been born! Thank you for sharing your ups and downs with readers who love you, Joanna (and team). Your perspective, style, and advice have been a huge part of my journey from teenhood to 25, living on my own in Portland, OR, doing what I love. Many thanks and well wishes for Toby’s year 8!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh my gosh, joy, that made my night! thank you :)

  14. Lorie says...

    Happy Birthday Sweet Toby! It has been a pleasure watching you grow up into a fine young man!

  15. Erin says...

    Can I just say that I love to hear you say that he is a joy to raise?!?! It shows what a wonderful mom you must be.

  16. Gen says...

    This accumulation of photos is super impressive. Can you please, Jo, tap someone to tell us parents who are drowning in photos how to wrangle them so we can come up with nifty every-year compilations like this? Or any compilations? Or – gasp – print them out into albums or books? Thanks!

    • Ali says...

      Chat books !! You download the app, link to your favorites folder in your photos, and every time you save enough pictures to fill a book, one magically arrives in your doorstep! The books and small and compact and just perfect!!

  17. I love how everyone is blowing out the candles with him. What a sweet post. I always look forward to your posts about Toby and Anton. It’s funny how your readers have grown with him too. :)

  18. Elaine says...

    My “baby” is 18 and headed halfway across the country to college in less than three months. It makes me well up just writing that as I will miss her so incredibly much. My advice to parents of newborns is don’t blink, I could never ever have imagined the speed with which 18 years could fly by. She has brought so much joy into our lives that its hard to remember that we ever did anything fun before she was born. But we did, and I know we will continue to. I’m gonna try to keep that in mind until I can get into a new groove. Seriously — don’t blink!

  19. Dorca says...

    This post made me realize I have been reading your blog for a very long time (since you were a single gal working for Glamour). It makes me so happy to see how much this community has grown and to see your beautiful family. All of us need a little Toby in our lives. I mean, look at his outfits! Happy birthday to Toby!

  20. Ellay says...

    I first started reading once you had already had him but he was still a baby, and I remember that singing diaper pic! Following along always made me feel calmer about becoming a mom myself one day- and now my baby is six months! Thanks for helping me know o could do It, too. Happy birthday to your firstborn!

  21. Melanie Price says...

    Happy Birthday sweet Toby. Cheers to so many more!!!

  22. brianna says...

    HBD Toby! I’ve love watching you grow! I’ve had two babies since Toby was born and just can’t believe it’s been 8 years. Also, no donut cake ?!?!?!

  23. Maywyn says...

    Happy Birthday Toby!

  24. Arianna Bundy says...

    I read a quote that resonated so, so much with me around the time I had my baby— “Becoming a mother is like discovering the existence of a strange new room in the house where you already live.”

    Everything is new but everything also feels oddly familiar. I always pass this quote on to new mamas now, and was reminded of it with your post about pre-children vacations.

    • em says...

      I am a new mom and this, exactly.

      Happy birthday, Toby!

  25. Happiest of birthdays, Toby!! <3

  26. oh my, Happy Day, Toby! So strange, I can clearly remember reading about baby Toby at my old work desk. What a wonderful boy you have.
    This really got to me. I’m due to give birth to by second in a few weeks and trying to soak up the time with time with my first. I can’t believe my baby is going to be a big brother.

  27. Alexandra says...

    What a sweet note, and I can so relate: my newborn just turned 13! He is still a happy, kissy and huggy person, just as he has always been. That said, there were enough rough patches over the years …. I am watching in awe as he is growing into a young man. He is very tall, and he was very proud to go shopping in the mens’ department recently for the first time. Happy Birthday to Toby!

  28. Christina says...

    Haven’t scrolled the whole way through the comments to see if anyone else has made this “heh heh” joke yet… but he kind of WAS on your honeymoon! xoxo and lol

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      hahahahahaha you’re right ;)

  29. Rebeccah says...

    This post actually made me tear up. As a mom of two boys as well, my “newborn” is turning 4 in a month and I can’t, for the life of me, figure out where the time has gone. I’m so wistful for the days when he was that tiny, fresh baby and my husband and I felt completely out of our depth. At the same time I’m so excited to see him growing into a kind, funny, social bee who makes me laugh on a daily basis with his “-isms.”

  30. Amanda says...

    “He can have some hard times, but I really understand him, and I can see myself in him. He has been a joy to raise.”

    I could have written this word-for-word about my almost 5-year-old. He was classified as a “high-needs” baby, and that hasn’t really changed. He pushes me to my parenting limit every single day, but I wouldn’t trade him for the world. He’s the most determined, passionate, and charming human I know. I keep reminding myself those traits will serve him well as an adult :)

    Happiest Belated Birthday to Toby!

  31. Saz says...

    8 and then 9 are probably my favourite ages in boys. :) They are genuinely the funniest people at that age. It’s interesting how they are different to girls. Girls, in my experience, have their “funny stage” at more like 10-11.

    What you said about editing people into your memories reminded me of something I always find strange, and that is how my different friendship groups don’t know each other. I’m sure, like lots of adults, my friendship groups are very clearly defined. For me its “university friends”, “home town friends” and “work friends”. I often find myself thinking “HANG ON! Laura from university doesn’t know Jess from work!?! What madness!” I think because I know and love them both so dearly, it seems odd to my brain that they barely know the other exists, apart from a name I mention in passing now and then.

  32. alison says...

    My husband and I always tell our friends who are on the verge of having babies that they should try really hard to take time to notice all the things they do in their free time. We look back and have NO Idea how we spent our time before kids! Glad to hear someone else say that!

  33. B says...

    Happy Birthday to both of you!! Looking at these old pictures makes me wonder —— did he ever develop a love for the violin ?? Remembering when he used to draw them! Thanks for sharing your sweet son with us. You have influenced how I parent my two boys – 2 and a half and 7 months.

    • S.H. says...

      Joanna, I’m a violin teacher, so it makes me so happy that Toby was interested all by himself! I would absolutely encourage you to ask him if he wants to take lessons—he seems like he is a thoughtful, sensitive (in a good way) child, which are qualities that pair beautifully with being a violinist!
      The first year or so of learning can feel slow and unrewarding, but once they get going it is SO much fun and SO worth it. :)

    • S.H. says...

      Joanna, I’m a violin teacher, so it makes me so happy that Toby was interested in the violin all by himself! I would absolutely encourage you to ask him if he wants to take lessons, he seems like he is a thoughtful, sensitive (in a good way) child, qualities which pair beautifully with being a violinist!
      The first year or so of learning can feel slow and unrewarding, but once they get going, it is SO much fun and SO worth it. :)

  34. Meg says...

    I love 8. It’s wonderfully charmingly weird, where bedrock parts of the personality seem to manifest more powerfully at the same time the wider world is becoming more real, closer or more relevant (from what I have witnessed). It is such a joy to witness.

  35. Alyssa says...

    Happy birthday, sweet Toby! Thank you, Joanna, for sharing your family with us!

  36. Leslie says...

    It might be Anton trying to get closer to the action, but their sweet little hands in birthday cake pic!

  37. Happy Birthday, Toby! My son turned 6 yesterday, and at his birthday dinner, we somehow mentioned our wedding. It took me a second to look around and figure out that neither of my children was there…

  38. Carrie says...

    You should do a birthday interview! Just things like how does it feel to be 8 years old, what are you looking forward to this year? What will you miss most about 7? Make it feel real serious and professional. It would be so cute to hear those answers.

    • Alexandra says...

      I second this!

  39. Lauren says...

    Well… he did make an appearance at your honeymoon (technically).

    :D

    PS OH MY GOD I’ve been reading this blog for more than 8 years???!! Holy cow. Here’s to 8 more, I guess!!!

  40. Kayla says...

    Happy birthday Toby! That picture of him and the pretzel truck has got to be one of the seeeresr pictures I’ve ever seen ❤️

  41. Alexa says...

    The pretzel truck photo slaaaays me and also Anton’s little hand in the last photo, as if to say, “Be careful, Toby!” Sweet brothers.

    Happy Birthday to Toby and Happy Birth Day to you!

  42. Christa says...

    Happy Birthday Toby! Your cake look totally yummy this year.

  43. Sanaa Murray says...

    He is a gem and you are a wonderful mama. thank you for giving us a peak of watching him grow.

  44. SR says...

    happy happy birthday to toby! what a wonderful kid he is!

  45. Michelle says...

    Wow, I’ve been reading CofJ for more than 8 years now! I remember your wedding! This was a really lovely post to read as I lie with my 13 day old first newborn next to me. We are deep in the newborn haze and this post is a super timely reminder of how quickly this will pass and we’ll be at the next stage.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      michelle, sending so much love your way.

  46. Karyn says...

    Happy birthday to Toby! Your post about Toby’s birth story was the first one I ever read — a devoted fan sent it to me when we were each expecting our own first baby boys — and I haven’t missed one since. You all are lights in our world!

  47. STOP IT!!!
    My son is probably about as old as Toby is in the picture where’s singing with you and the guitar. I keep thinking lately how one day he’s just not going to be a baby anymore. Joanna, how do I stop this time from moving so fast? How do I hang onto my little boy forever?

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      I KNOW! we need to figure this out asap.

  48. NN says...

    Cake instead of donuts!

    • NN, that was my first thought too!

  49. My eldest is turning 10 this year and I can really related to the time having flown by on the one hand – but on the other not really remembering what life was like before our baby arrived. I even have difficulties to remember what kind of a person I was pre-kids ;-). Becoming a parent was such a lovely, crazy, bitter-sweet life change.

  50. Mirte says...

    That pretzel truck picture is just the best! What a sweet sweet boy. My daugther (1,5 years) recently discovered her pout and it’s so hard not to give in when she uses it… Happy birthday, wonderful Toby and also congratulations for the rest of your family!

  51. Heidi says...

    Happy Birthday, Toby! You’re such a superstar kid.

    (I love that Pretzel Truck photo… so sweet!)

  52. Claire says...

    Happy Birthday to Toby. (This time of year always seems so full of milestones and transitions- aka: the weepy mama season. )

  53. Cynthia says...

    I enjoyed the pictures of Toby from newborn until now. His cake looks so delicious!

  54. DIANA says...

    Date Toby is my favorite Toby- that face!

  55. janine says...

    My little guy will turn 8 in January. I love seeing all the ways he’s similar to me (he loves pets!) and different (he’s very athletic, whereas I… am not).

  56. Lydia says...

    Happy Birthday Toby!!!

  57. Catie says...

    I was also going to comment on the seriously fancy cake–the guy has strong (exceptional) taste, for sure, in sweets AND blazers. Happiest of Happy Birthdays to Toby! I discovered your blog just before he was born, and it’s been so fun to watch both of the boys grow into their own awesome selves.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      the cake choice was really funny/surprising — we went to our sweet neighborhood bakery, where they have a hamburger cake and a ladybug cake and a car cake, but he said he wanted the fancy chocolate one with the flowers. so there you go! :) haha

  58. Jessica says...

    Joanna, I have been following you since before Toby’s birth and, like so many other readers, feel like I’ve watched him grow up (you can tell that a lot of us were thrown off by the change in birthday cake!) He feels like my nephew in New York who likes to share his adventures. I know you must constantly struggle with how many personal details to share on a lifestyle blog, but please know that Toby has an army of warriors at his back at all times. Anytime you feel defeated or perplexed in parenting this lovebug, I hope you can draw upon the positive energy and prayers of his thousands of “aunties” around the world who adore his big eyes and big spirit. Happy eight years of being a mama to you :)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh my gosh, i’m tearing up at my desk, jessica. thank you so much.

    • Kirby says...

      Oh yes, THIS!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      i keep coming back to this comment. thank you again :)

    • Maryse says...

      I’n tearing up at this comment too. :-)

    • Brittany says...

      And THIS is exactly what I love and adore about the COJ community. All the feels. Happy Birthday Toby and happy 8 years of being a Mama, Joanna!

  59. Meg says...

    My daughter turns 8 in a few days — didn’t realize how close in age she and Toby are! So bittersweet. I love the person she’s becoming and have so much fun spending time with her, but baby pictures squish my heart. Happy Birthday to Toby!

  60. JoAnna Murray says...

    Happy (day late) birthday to your little Toby. My daughter is now two and I feel like she may as well be 25. But then I try to remember just how LITTLE two (and eight!) still are. How can they seem so little and so grown up at the same time?! What a wonderful gift to see them grow. Thanks for sharing these very real moments. I’ve looked to your blog for much help at this whole mom thing, and it’s been a great comfort and resource.

  61. sha says...

    Happy birthday Toby! And congratulations to you on 8 years of being a Mama, it isnt always easy, it is the best but also sometimes hardest job in the world xxxx

  62. Crystal says...

    (to be read in the tone as More Cowbell!…) More Toby!!

  63. Sarah says...

    Re: your comment on how Toby is now present in your memories from before he was born, I think this little story from Gretchen Rubin on how the future can change the past is perfect:

    https://gretchenrubin.com/podcast-episode/little-happier-barnaby

    Always makes me cry! Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

  64. And then you blink and he’ll be off to college.
    I remember thinking, when my kid turned 9, that half our time together was over. Feeling that urgency is good in a way–when my kid wants to talk, I drop everything. I savor every hug, every snuggle.

  65. Wuselbibi says...

    Congratulations Toby, and Mama!!
    Great to see him every year with this cute birthday expression on his face!
    My son turns 8 in October, and I’ve felt they are similar in so much little things. But maybe they’re all the same, around the world – the peers of 2010 and their funny stages!

    Enjoy him being eight and I hope you’ll have a good year.

  66. Casey says...

    My little guy is about to be 5, and as he’s aging I see Toby-like transitions in him. Makes me feel like we’re on the right path, ha!

  67. Marie says...

    Happy birthday Toby, all the way from Italy! So strange, this internet, the way it can bond people. :)

  68. BLG says...

    As the youngest of three sisters, I find myself identifying with Anton in these photos, especially the one with them eating muffins. I love the way Anton has a giant grip of his muffin and has even turned his whole body away from older brother who may try to snatch it at any moment! It is always very funny to look back at birthday pictures and see the wonderful and hope-filled expressions of children. HaPpY BiRtHdAy to you Toby!

  69. steph says...

    From how you have portrayed him over the years, Toby is such an amazing human! I love his blazer wearing ways and how he sees the world.

  70. Happy Birthday Toby!

  71. Jenny says...

    Happy Birthday! I really enjoy all your family and parenting posts- thank you so much for sharing this part of your life with us all.

    Smiles for miles 💕

  72. MCW says...

    My grandma Rosemary used to marvel at us grandkids growing up by noting “the energy of children could light the world”. Happy Birthday Toby, it’s certainly brighter here because of you. Joanna and Alex, you must be so proud.

  73. Ann says...

    So sweet, happy birthday Toby! I remember when you were born! So funny what you said about editing your children into your pre-child life. I once caught my son, when he was about 4, staring intently and on the verge of tears, at a photo of my entire family at my wedding. I asked him what was the matter and he replied weepily, “ you didn’t invite me.”. Oh, my
    Goodness, it nearly broke my heart! Not only is it so hard ( impossible even) to imagine our lives before our children but it’s so hard for them to imagine as well!! xoxo

    • Laura says...

      oh my goodness, what a dear! thank you for sharing <3

    • lydia says...

      i love this! i tell my kids they were there!! they were little day dreams in my belly waiting for the right time to make their appearance and add their specialness to our family. ❤️

  74. Jill says...

    My baby girl turns 8 this week, too! I’m really feeling it this year. She’s so grown-up now, so tall and agile. All the baby is gone from her face, and I get glimpses of the young woman she will soon become. I love seeing her sharing jokes and singing songs with her friends. She learned to ride a bike (in one day!) recently, and I had this lump in my throat thinking, “she’s literally riding away from me!” I know. Pathetic mom. I’m thrilled for her, and yet part of me is a little sad to let go. It’s bittersweet, this mom thing.

  75. Louise says...

    Sweetest.

  76. I never expected to be so completely taken with my child, you know? It always makes me believe in the goodness of the world a little bit more when I get a glimpse into how other parents love their babies. Happy birthday, Toby! Hope 8 is GREAT!

  77. Ann says...

    This is so sweet to read of a Mom of two boys. Each year is incredulous.

  78. Aw, Toby is the sweetest little dude. Makes me wish I lived closer so he and my guy could be friends. I bet they would get along famously. My boy, who is my youngest, turned 10 yesterday. No more single digits! It happened so fast and yet it also feels like it’s been decades since he was a babe.

    I remember noticing within days or weeks of my first being born that all my past memories now contained them. It’s one of the craziest phenomenons of new parenthood, in my opinion. Enjoy your birthday celebrations!

  79. Jessica says...

    This is a bit of a tangent from the other posts, but related…

    Whenever I feel myself becoming too cynical about life (which happens fairly often, since I’m a forensic pathologist working in an urban medical examiner’s office), I remind myself that every adult was once a newborn. It’s so easy to judge a stranger for his apparent poor life choices, or to reduce a life to the single, unproud moment that is broadcast to the world. But it floods me with empathy to picture each adult as an innocent baby snuggled in her mother’s arms, who undoubtedly was filled with the same hopes and dreams for her child that I have for mine.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh my gosh, jessica, what a lovely and beautiful way of seeing the world.

    • Maria says...

      That is beautiful.

    • Anne says...

      I do exactly the same. I also picture them as little crestfallen kids looking after their parents/loved ones when they walk out the door. Gets me every time.

    • APaige says...

      Such perfect empathy.

    • Jessica, thanks for sharing such a thoughtful and beautiful perspective! After being a nurse for the past 10+ years sometimes I suffer from frequent cynicism too. This is a great reminder! Xo

      I’m swooning over the fact that my little boy will be 2 soon, I can’t even imagine 8! …These photos are so very sweet. Happy Birthday Toby!

    • Claire says...

      I love this. Same.

    • Theresa says...

      Beautiful

    • Katie says...

      I love this. It reminds me so much of a passage from A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, that I always keep at front of mind when facing difficult people or processing some of the evil in this world.

      “He was a baby once. He must have been sweet and clean and his mother kissed his little pink toes. Maybe when it thundered at night she came to his crib and fixed his blanket better and whispered that he mustn’t be afraid, that mother was there. Then she picked him up and put her cheek on his head and said that he was her own sweet baby.”

    • Thank you for this. If we all did the same the world might be a little bit kinder. I’ll start. :)

    • Laura says...

      Jessica– I just went to a Brandi Carlile concert (highly recommend) and from the stage she said something very similar to your thoughts- She said the hardest part of becoming a mother was realizing that all those grownups who annoy you were once “somebody’s baby.” As she said, hard to have road rage at somebody’s baby. :) You and Brandi- same wavelength.

    • Tara Bee says...

      Just finished this book Katie! And so true that paragraph stuck with me .Such a lovely way to look at every person!!

  80. Sallie says...

    I can’t believe he is 8! I remember reading when he was just new! Some of my favorite posts have been his funny conversations and thoughts.

  81. Patricia says...

    It’s been a real pleasure watching your sweet boy growing up! The years go by so quickly. My 5 are all adults now but motherhood continues to be a very happy part of my life, which I am so grateful for. Happy birthday Toby!!

  82. MA says...

    Happy birthday Toby!
    What sweet photos. Thank you for sharing all that you do about him.

  83. Andrea K says...

    Happy birthday to Toby! So strange, today is also my birthday, and my wedding anniversary is the same as yours and Alex’s! I’ve been following your blog for years now and I think this is the first time I noticed that!

  84. Stacie says...

    I’ve been reading your blog for so long, I can’t believe Toby is 8. Happy Birthday, Toby! You seem like one of the coolest kids and your flag pants are simply magnificent. Thanks for showing everyone it’s okay to be different. (:

  85. Kat says...

    The one-day-old picture of him is just so beautiful. That little new life with the same cute gentle facial expression and lips that would grow up to be the 8-year-old he is today. Oh man how wonderful it must be to be his mother. My heart is so warmed for you and your family, and I haven’t even met you! Hah, the internet is so crazy sometimes. Best wishes from Oklahoma

  86. Birthday Sister says...

    Today, I turn 29. And as odd as it sounds, from the small and lovely glimpses you give us into your life, I feel I see myself in Toby too. I was a quirky little girl prone to meltdowns, at everything from the feel of my church shoes to the shrill of a passing ambulance to the dreaded moment of being left at elementary school each day. Yet as the oldest child, I can see how I have been a light in my parents’ lives – each and every thread of me. Today, at 29, I am finishing pediatrics residency, engaged to a dream of a man, with a close group of friends and family who remind me how loved I am, quirks and all, especially on this day. As a pediatrician I see all children as gifts, but I am especially touched to see parents love as fiercely as you two do. Happy Birthday, Toby. What a fabulous day to be born.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh my gosh, this comment means so much to me. thank you for sharing your words, and happy birthday! hope you have a wonderful day, and congratulations on all you’ve built and shared with loved ones. thank you again for writing. xoxo

    • Kelly says...

      What a lovely comment! I have a spirited almost 8 year old girl and it’s so nice to hear your perspective esp knowing you were/are a light in your parents’ lives! My girl gives us a run for our money sometimes, but she is truly making me a better parent and a better person! And, I know her spiritedness is her sensitive, curious, brilliant brain hard at work developing her into the amazing adult I know she will be…as it sounds like you have turned out!

    • Alison says...

      Gorgeous. As a mother of four, it is my greatest dream that my children can see and more importantly feel, that they are the light in my life, each and every thread of them.

    • Bettina says...

      My heart goes out to you – and especially to your parents. I hope my daughter, who also turned eight this year, will one day say the same thing about us.

    • Mrs D says...

      Comment GOLD! What a wonderful reminder to myself to be more compassionate and patient with my beautiful and very challenging almost 6 year old son. I want him to know he was unequivocally loved, not despite our challenges BUT BECAUSE OF THEM.

      Thank you and all the best to you…

  87. Dee says...

    I have been following your blog every since Toby was born, I feel like I also know him personally. I have 3 grown sons and following Your boys helps me to remember the special times I shared with my sons. Happy birthday Toby stay sweet this world needs your sweetness.

  88. Natasha says...

    I love watching your boys grow up! Thank you for sharing them with us! Happy Birthday, Toby!

  89. Carly says...

    The donut cake got a major upgrade! Happy birthday, Toby!

  90. TJ says...

    You understand him and what a gift that is…❤️

  91. M says...

    Happy 8 year anniversary of motherhood! And how is Toby’s imaginary family doing? Are they still around?

  92. Michele says...

    Happy, happy 8th birthday, Toby! I’ve enjoyed watching you growing up! Wishing you all good things you wish for yourself – and more!

  93. Happy birthday, Toby!

    It’s crazy that I remember as it was yesterday reading your birth story… it’s been beautiful to watch him grow through the blog!

    And also… I know the feeling! I don’t think anyone understands how fast time goes until becoming a momma. My baby Leo is 9months old and I tear up just thinking he will be a year old soon and I don’t remember or care about life before him!

  94. sara says...

    so gorgeous. my two boys are similarly aged to Anton and Toby: 4 and 7. i know it’s a cliche but can they please just pause with the growing, just for a bit? i found the baby and toddler years challenging and often found myself wishing they would pass. but now the months and years are passing too fast! i adore these childhood years – they are so magical

    • Dee says...

      I love this comment. I have a 15 month old and I found the first baby months challenging but now she is heading into toddlerhood I’m finally getting it!

  95. Happy birthday, sweet Toby! Longtime reader over here, so it seems like just yesterday he was born! That “going on a date” photo kills me. Congrats to your anniversary of becoming parents!

  96. Aww! I remember when you didn’t post for a few days and everyone in the comments was like Did you have the baby? I hope he has a great 8th birthday!!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      yes!!!!! hahaha that was so sweet and exciting :)

  97. Monica says...

    Happy birthday to Toby!

    My first baby is due is three weeks and I’m so excited to have him in my life! The other day I was showering and thinking about what kind of life my baby would have. Is he going to love computers like his dad? Enjoy all the stars and planets his momma decorated his nursery with? What will be his interests when he grows up?

    That’s when it dawned on me that my child will grow up! I started sobbing in the shower, like a crazy woman, because my boy (who hasn’t even been born yet!) will grow up and leave home. I felt such a sense of urgency, like I must enjoy the 18 years or so I’ll have him with me. Reading this post just reminded me of how time flies! Those little stinkers. Can’t they stay little forever?

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      what a sweet mother you are, monica!!! congratulations on your baby news, you must be so excited to meet your little one. :)

  98. Sarah says...

    My thought exactly! Also, I would very much like a pretzel truck to pull up at work this very second, and because it hasn’t, I share his expression.

  99. So sweet!! Can’t believe this means I’ve been following this blog for more than 8 years!! I remember when little Toby made his debut into the world. Much love! ❤️

  100. Glenda says...

    Happy Birthday Lil Man!

  101. Mandolin says...

    What an absolutely lovely tribute. I have always said I don’t want kids (and I will continue to say it LOL) but this post makes me do a double think. Enjoy those eight-year old hugs and smiles, mama!!

  102. thanks for sharing your darling Toby with us. happy birthday beautiful boy!

  103. Giulia says...

    Happy birthday sweet Toby! My heart melts at those eyes, him staring at the pretzels truck. <3 Don't think I've seen anything as cute ever. xx

  104. Judith Garrard says...

    Happy birthday! He looks like a sensitive Soul, like my eldest boy (7,5 – I have Three boys), he also has some hard times, but is so special!

  105. So sweet! Those toddler photos really got me! And YES, I totally edit my daughter into my memories/my history with my husband, and she’s only 2! Wasn’t it ALWAYS the three of us?!

  106. Wendy says...

    Am I the only one who doesn’t know what that black thing is, next to the cake?

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh my gosh, it was so cool/nuts! one of the dads at the party put it on the table right before we lit the candle, and he took a 360-degree view of that moment! the device spun around to take the photo :)

    • Brittany says...

      What?! What’s it called, Jo?

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      i’ll ask him! it was very cool :)

    • Sarah says...

      I was wondering the same thing! :P

    • Jeannie says...

      Thank you for asking this question! I was wondering too :)

  107. Nigar says...

    Yes! Yes! Yes! My memory does the same!
    Happy Birthday to Toby!🎉He reminds me of my son. If only we could slow down and savor every sweet moment…🤗

  108. Jessica says...

    Oh my. Eight feels big. I have been reading your blog for what seems like forever, and I have to tell you that the tiny glimpse we get into your relationship with your boys has been really impactful on me. The minute I read the blog post about you taking him on a date, I knew I would do that one day with my own. My little guy is turning three this year, and I can’t wait to take him out for “fancy” Italian food.
    Also, every time I look at photos of our wedding I temporarily get confused when our little guy isn’t there :)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      your note makes me so happy, jessica. thank you so much. that means a lot to me.

      “Also, every time I look at photos of our wedding I temporarily get confused when our little guy isn’t there” = awwww!!!! sob!!!

  109. Laura C. says...

    Baby Toby pouting, omg how cute!!!! 😍
    Happy birthday little Toby, I hope to meet you someday!

  110. Celeste says...

    Does anyone else feel like “Yes! I made it to one year!” Or “Yes, double digits, I’m the woman!” Instead of sorrow, I’m pure joy.

    • Len says...

      I’m totally the same and thought I was alone in thinking this way. I’m so excited when my sons add another year. In addition to it making them feel bigger, I get my own sense of accomplishment with it. :)

    • Robin says...

      Lol absolutely! I love my little ones but honestly I really enjoy seeing my kids grow up and can’t wait until my adorable toddler with the chubby belly and mophead of blonde curls grows into a long legged boy like his big brother. He’s still nursing and sweetly learning to talk, but still. Real conversations! No more diapers! Not having to keep all the little things out of his impossibly long and inventive reach! Independent play! Teaching skills like canoeing, and more complex games! Omg, getting my boobs back! I’m so excited to get to know the people they are growing into, and it’s only more fun as time goes on.

    • Kelly says...

      Haha I feel both ways, sometimes at the same time! My 2 year old had major potty training breakthrough this weekend and this mama is gleefully ticking off milestones that we can hit next (get rid of binky and switch to big girl bed)! I would love to go back and cuddle my happy calm kids as babies but in reality those moments were few and far btn and surrounded by so much exhaustion and chaos I don’t miss it!

  111. Caroline says...

    It’s funny… following along for all 8 years of Toby’s life, I feel like I deeply know this kid. I feel weirdly emotional and also proud ha! He’s so grownup and seems like the coolest little (big!!) guy. Happy bday Toby! xo

  112. Rachel says...

    Happiest of birthdays, Toby! I have loved (virtually) watching you grow up. You have a very cool mom.

  113. stephanie says...

    Beautiful! Thank you for sharing!

  114. I love that his cute little lips have stayed the same since the day he was born!

  115. jac says...

    YAY! Happy 8th Bday Toby!!!!!!!!!!!!! <3 <3 <3

  116. Amber says...

    So, so sweet, Joanna. We’re having our first — a boy — this summer, and I can’t wait to make these memories and for my heart to ache in just this way when my boy turns 8, too. Congratulations to you and your husband for such a wonderful child and for doing such a wonderful work of parenting with him <3 Blessings to you! And to Toby!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      congratulations, amber! you must be so excited to meet your little dollface.

    • Amber says...

      thank you! we are thrilled to pieces <3

  117. Briana says...

    No donut cake this time?! He is growing up!
    Love these posts. Thank you for sharing!!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      hahaha i know! he asked for the chocolate flower one from the italian bakery!

    • Sara Tall says...

      I had the same question! :D

    • Aya says...

      Ah! End of an era!