Happy Birthday Frog Princess!

Leta, Happy First Birthday! You are wonderful froggy goodness in our family. Your smiles and talking and laughing helped us through all the hard stuff. Yes, there is still hard stuff, but your sweetness and warmth helped get through the sleepless nights and tears. Your mother and I love you very much. Chuck loves you, too. We are so glad you are in our family.

It has been a scary, wonderful, emotional and brilliant year. I did not know that I was capable of the emotions I have felt this year. I did not know that parenthood would be so hard and so amazing. Thank you Leta for being here.

There was a time in my life when I never thought I would have children. I can’t imagine not having you in my life, little frog. From the moment I first saw you, I felt right. You have brought such joy and wonder to me. You’re so very smart and so very cute. The boys (or girls) won’t have a chance.

As you have grown this year you are looking less and less like me and more and more like your mother. This is a good thing, as your mother is very beautiful. During the phase where you looked like me, you also reminded a lot of your aunts, uncles and cousins of my father, who passed away long before you were born. You will undoubtedly go through more changing as you grow, but let’s just say that my feelings won’t be hurt one bit if you end up looking more like your mother.



P.S. Leta, if you did a search for this and found it, I know it might sound schmaltzy and corny, but the feelings are very real and very deep. You bring a smile to my face every day. Watching you grow this year as been the most wonderful experience. And when you have your children, your mother and I will be there the first little while to help you. We promise. You know that your mother is the real writer in the family, so you should read what she has written, as it will be funnier and have more cute pictures.

  • JenE

    I hope Leta enjoys her first birthday!

  • Courtney

    Happy Birthday, little one! The internets have loved watching you grow.

  • Joana

    Happy Birthday, little frog! You’re really cute!!
    And a good day to daddy too! :)

  • sweetney

    spoken like a true daddy! happy birthday to leta (again), and much love to all armstrongs.

    also, maybe its just me, but leta so reminds me of mina at that age:

  • beachgal

    such sweet words from a proud papa. We all know how much you love your little frog. We all feel it, and in our strange, internet way, we all love her, too.

    Happy Birthday Miss Leta!!!

  • Badger

    Aw! Sniffle! Happy birthday, Leta! And congrats to mom and dad for making it through that rough first year. It never gets easy, I don’t think, but it does get easiER. And, you know, weirder. In a good way.

  • schmutzie

    Just when I’m waffling about having a child or not, you go an throw a wrench into the works.
    Happy Birthday, Leta-frog!

  • adrianne

    Hopefully she doesn’t do the google search around the “sensitive” age of 13, as she may not be so keen on being referred to on the internet as the Frog Princess!
    Your post did bring a little tear to my eye, seriously.

  • Jane’s Mom

    Happy Birthday to Leta!
    Congrats to you and heather for surviving the first year. It only gets better and each new phase is more wonderful than the last.

  • Sarah

    What a beautiful letter to your sweet little girl. Thank you for sharing with us, the Internet, even though there are some real jerks out here!

    Leta is lucky to have you and Heather, and you and Heather are lucky to have Leta.

    Congratulations on not only making it through the first year, but for doing it with honesty, humor, and grace.
    And Happy Birthday to that adorable froggie girl!

  • Michelle

    “You’re so very smart and so very cute. The boys (or girls) won’t have a chance.”

    What a good dad. Seriously.

  • wn

    Congratulations Amstrong family and Joyeux Anniversaire Leta-Frog!

  • sab

    You and Heather are both amazing parents. Leta is truly blessed.


  • Cristin

    Wonderful letter, Jon. I made the stupid mistake of coming straight here after reading Heather’s newsletter. Jeez, I was already crying!


    now that I have cleaned up, again, I want to thank you, Jon, for sharing the husband/father perspective with us. The amount of sheer guts you two have about sharing truly inspires me.

    Thanks again. Happy daddyversary!

  • Ronny

    happy birthday leta. that really is a great picture.

  • Ninotchka

    Awww, Happy Birthday Leta! And Happy BIRTHday to Mom & Dad. :)

  • Lisa

    Happy Birthday, Leta! You are so lucky to have two such wonderful parents as your Mommy and Dady!

    Jon, thank you so much for sharing your persepective of Daddyhood with us. It’s a wonderful thing to see!!

  • Terri

    This was written perfectly, Jon.

    Happy Birthday, Leta. May you continue to bless your parents as much as they have blessed all of us.

  • Em

    Ow. That picture just RIPPED my heart out. And I NEED MY HEART.

    Damn you, Armstrongs!

    And Happy Birthday!

    PS. I think you do pretty good at the writing, btw.

  • Kathleen

    Happy Birthday, Leta.

    Jon, the photo you’ve posted really shows how Leta does resemble Heather.

  • jennifer

    Some kids would give anything for a dad willing to be schmaltzy or corny with them (no matter how much they think it embarrasses them). Leta’s a lucky girl to have such loving parents. Please don’t ever stop being schmaltzy or corny with her 😉

    Happy birthday, Leta!!

  • christine

    Pardon me for being maudlin in any way… but, if only my father had been smaltzy with me. Leta will grow up with double her wonderfulness because you are in her life. I’m glad this love is out there.

  • maria

    Happy Birthday, Leta! Feliz CumpleaÒos! diriamos en Mexico. May your years be many and bright and filled with love.

  • michele

    I have to agree with Jennifer- I would love to have a dad like that so don’t ever stop!. I used to have an employee who never missed any of his 3 kids’ school functions, etc. I am still jealous of his kids!! I ended up with a dud who is no more than a sperm donor. Leta you are very very lucky!!!

  • Melinda

    Happy Birthday Leta! Blub-o-Dooce has me teary today with two such lovely letters to such an adorable little girl. I wish the whole Armstrong family another wonderful year together! (If Leta makes the NYT in year one, what shall year two bring? I’m anxious to find out. )

  • carolina

    Happy Birthday Leta! And great letter daddy!

  • jess

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY LETA! You know when I saw that you called her a froggie, it totally made sense. I don’t even know why! It’s just totally her (as if I can make such an assumption, I know, because I really don’t know her!). In any case, hope you guys have an amazing second year with Miss Froglin!

  • diane

    Oh me! This letter totally made me misty-eyed, probably just a little bit because I am a Daddy’s girl and little Leta will love you so much as she continues to grow (as long as you buy her many pretty outfits!).
    Congrats to all three of you on this momentous 1st birthday!

  • moose

    Leta, HIPPY HAPPY BTHUTHDY THUTHDY! Or however it was that Owl spelled it…

    Jon, you MUST check this out:
    Swiss army knife meets USB !!!!!

  • Wicked H

    Congrats to all. Made it through year 1.

    Here is wishing Leta a lifetime of happiness.

  • Coelecanth

    Leta: I left a birthday wish for you over at your mom’s site but I need to clarify: your parents don’t just rock, no siree, the RAWK!

    Happiness and joy to all the BlurboDooce’s.

  • becky

    this kid is going to have one of the best baby albums ever. you two have taken lots of great shots. congrats on making it thru one year w/ your sanity intact, in spite sharing it all with the crazy internet-world.

    happy first birthday leta-frog!

  • Sarcastic Journalist

    I love daddies who don’t assume their child will be straight or gay. I love the Blurboocery!

    Happy birthday, Leta! Can’t wait to keep watching you grow.

  • Annejelynn

    Jon, yer awesome! there’s nothing more sexy than some sweetly humble, heart-felt fatherly pride! Heather and lil’ Leta are lucky-lucky in love! Happy 1st Birthday for Leta and you two lucky parents! All the best to each of you cuties!

  • Krizzay

    Love the picture. He face is so REAL there. Know what I mean?

  • elsa

    I just wanted to say that have been reading your wife’s site for the last week or so and the two of you must be some of the luckiest people out there. You both are honest, funny and loving people!
    Thank you for sharing yourselves!
    Happy Birthday Leta!

  • Julie H.

    I left a birthday wish over at Dooce, but wanted to leave one here, too.

    Happy Birthday, Miss Leta. You’ve got two spectacular parents who love you very much. Remember this when you’re 13 and screaming that you hate them. 😉

    And congratulations, Jon and Heather. May year two and beyond bring you just even more joy than year one has. You both deserve it. And thanks for sharing the journey with the rest of us!

  • Kristen

    Happy Birthday Leta!

    Both of what you & Heather wrote was beautiful. Leta is very lucky to have parents like you. =D

  • Amanda B.

    Whoever Leta turns out to look like, she’s got good genes on both sides! Congrats on the year FrogPappa.

  • leen

    she’s lovely. happy birthday to her!

  • Sara

    what wonderful words…ones that your daughter will treasure all her life, and ones that make me feel wobby with emotion too. Good luck in all that you do XXX

  • Meggan

    Congratulations, you guys! Leta is adorable, and I love hearing about how much you and Heather love her (and each other)!

  • lorrie

    That is so sweet.

  • Saroy

    I read you and Dooce all the time but rarely comment. Today, however, both of your entries have been incredible. And that picture of Leta is *adorable*.

  • Lesley

    Any child would be proud to have you as a father.

  • Gillian

    Another Daddy’s girl here, piping up to say that she will love reading this, twenty, thirty, forty years hence. Also, (if she turns out straight), the boys will have quite a lot to live up to, with you as her first example of a husband and daddy.

    Happy First Year of Parenting, Blurb!

  • Cheryl

    Please give that kid the biggest hug and kiss possible!! You and Heather are the coolest parents and I know Leta will love you more and more each year!

  • termagaunt

    Damn, I decided years ago that I wasn’t going to have kids, and suddenly my ovaries are knocking, saying ‘uh, are you sure? Maybe think again? We -are- still here, you know… ‘ And, I mean, if a photo of a little girl can make ovaries speak, then something’s wrong with me (granted) or that’s one hell of a little girl.

    Adding my birthday wishes… -tgaunt

  • Carolyn J.

    She is looking a little Doocey around the edges these days….

    Can you imagine if everyone who professed their adoration of Leta lived near you? You guys would never be hurting for babysitters.

  • e.

    oh, my heart. so sweet.
    and i thoroughly enjoyed the “(or girls)” line. tnx.

  • butterstar

    Happy birthday froggie princess! We used to call our first born girl our “little frog”, too.

    I’m glad to see I’m not the only one who thinks Leta looks like Heather in this pic.

    You are one great dad, Jon. Good going, Armstrongs; here’s comes year number two!

  • Lushlife

    Well reading that made my eyes well up. I think that I can guess (my being a mother as well) how Heather might feel about Leta even if she didn’t write about it. But when I see my husband with my children and read your expressions of love for Leta, now that gives me some insight into the depths of the emotions that men have for their children and its enlightening and absolutely WONDERFUL.

  • kalisah

    Thank you for putting into words what we all feel about out children and our lives. It’s been 10 years since My Kid celebrated his first birthday, but you have somehow managed to capture that time in a capsule and parents everywhere appreciate the gift you have given not just your daughter, but all of our children.

    I am reminded of that great YMYW song “A house becomes a home when there’s love inside, when you let your love be as a guide…”

    sorry. Sometimes those Morman flashbacks happen without my control. Especially when on ya’lls sites.

    “…when you let your love be as a guide…when there’s joy and peace, understanding…when your handing out a compliment or two…”

    whoa. I’ve just made myself sick. Sorry for what I might have done to you, heather and your readers.

  • Steve

    kalisah, one thing you’ve done is created an ad for a “free Jesus Christ video” on in the right nav. Blurb’s gunna be PISSED!

  • HoneyBunny

    “You’re so very smart and so very cute. The boys (or girls) won’t have a chance.”

    this is seriously the best thing i’ve ever read from a parent to a child.

    jon, you and heather are two of the most amazing people ever. leta is a very lucky little girl. hug her for me :)

  • sharbean

    Leta’s totally looking more like her mother — especially when she smiles.

    Happy Birthday, Leta.

  • moose
  • jules

    in this picture, she’s so adorable, she kind of looks ike Mara Wilson,, the little girl who played the youngest kid in mrs. doubtfire, and matilda in matilda.

  • Island Girl

    You are so a cool daddy-o. Leta will love having you as a father. Some only wish they had a father caring enough to write such sweet words about their own.

  • AnÈ

    Wow, what a great dad you are. What a wonderful thing to say to your little daughter. You just brought a tear to my eye. How very very sweet. I am so happy for you.

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