Published in the January 26, 2017 edition
By MAUREEN DOHERTY
NORTH READING — The Transcript is happy to announce the winner of its First Baby of the New Year contest is Julianna Diane Burnham.
Jenn and Jon Burnham welcomed their daughter into the world on Wednesday, January 11, 2017 at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston at 5:14 a.m. weighing a healthy 10 lbs., 6 oz. and measuring 22 inches in length.
She is the couple’s third child and first daughter. At just nine days old during her press debut, she was calm and content. Nothing fazed her, even while being photographed or held and hugged by her big brothers, JJ, who is 3 years old, and James, who is 20 months old.
“I finally have a cuddly baby,” Jenn said as Julianna snuggled in her arms for a nap while her brothers played nearby.
Julianna is named after her maternal aunt, Julie, and her late maternal grandmother, Diane Lamusta. The baby was officially declared the winner at noon on Martin Luther King Jr. Day when the deadline to enter the newspaper’s contest had passed.
This year marks the 11th annual contest sponsored by the newspaper and many advertisers who have showered the town’s newest resident with gifts. It also marks multiple firsts in the contest’s history.
It is the first time the Transcript had potential winners who were born just hours apart. North Reading residents Jamie and Ryan Carroll welcomed their fourth daughter, Ainsley Mae, on January 11 as well. She was born less than five hours after Julianna, at 10:06 a.m. And the coincidences did not end there. In another first, Ainsley’s older sister Morgan, who just turned 2 on January 5, had won the Transcript’s contest in 2015.
Now, back to our winning family and a few more firsts. Jenn and Jon love their adopted hometown and feel they found the perfect home for their growing family here. The couple grew up together in Lynnfield and maintains strong ties there with friends and family they’ve known throughout their lives.
“Here we’re just Jenn and Jon. In Lynnfield, we’re Jenn Lamusta and Jon Burnham; his dad’s the water department superintendent and my dad’s a police officer,” she said.
Coincidentally, among their circle of good friends are Luisa and Charles Leach of Lynnfield who happened to have won this year’s New Baby Contest sponsored by the Transcript’s sister publication, the Lynnfield Villager, following the birth of their second child, Mina Caterina, on New Year’s Day.
“It was just funny because when she had Mina we had all said, ‘I guarantee she is the first baby of the year; she has got to be,’” Jenn recalled.
In fact, while Jenn was in the hospital after Julianna’s arrival, she received a text from Luisa who had recently been interviewed for the Villager’s contest.
“She said, ‘Go look at the Villager!” Mina’s story was published the day Julianna was born.
That got her wondering when the North Reading baby winner was born, so she sent an email to inquire as to whether the Transcript had found its baby winner. The Burnhams had to wait a few days before their daughter was officially declared the winner.
So this year also marked the first time in the contest’s history that future Hornet and Pioneer babies living in rival towns were born to parents who are also friends.
And it gets even more interesting when another friend of both couples enters the picture. Christina (Iacapino) Itzkowitz has been good friends with both Jenn and Luisa since they were kids. She designed the unique screenprint t-shirts and onesie worn by the Burnham children for their Transcript photo shoot as well as the t-shirt worn by Mina’s big brother, Silvio, 2, for his family’s photo shoot with the Villager.
“She’s very creative,” Jenn said of Christina. JJ’s navy blue shirt said “Big Brother Again, est. 2017” while James’ matching shirt said “Big Brother in Training, est. 2017” and Julianna’s pink onesie read: “Little Sister, est. 2017.”
The couple graduated from Lynnfield High School. She obtained a degree in elementary education and taught school in Danvers and Winthrop. Presently she is enjoying being a stay at home mom.
Jon is a sergeant on the Wakefield Police Department and is a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps. He served two tours of duty in the Middle East as an infantryman before being honorably discharged with the rank of corporal. He then finished his college degree and became a police officer, first in Lynnfield before transferring to Wakefield.
“I was with the 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines out of Camp Pendleton, California and I was deployed for the initial invasion (of Iraq) in 2003 and I was at the Battle of Fallujah in 2004,” Jon said. Another thing these friends have in common is the fact that both served in the Marines. Charles Leach served four years of active duty, including nine months in Afghanistan.
These days, Jenn and Jon are enjoying all the town of North Reading has to offer such as taking their sons to the summer concerts at Ipswich River Park and participating in the activities offered by Parks and Rec and the Flint Memorial Library. Now they are looking forward to having their daughter join in the fun.
Julianna is the beautiful granddaughter of Ken Burnham and Richard and the late Diane Lamusta. The baby is also blessed to have a great-grandfather, Richard Lamusta.
Expanding winners’ list
In the 11 years of the Transcript’s contest, baby girls continue to dominate over baby boys, with nine winners being girls. Baby boys were born in 2007 and 2013.
Julianna Diane joins this exclusive list of the Transcript’s first baby contest winners: Jada Rae Eatman, born Jan. 26, 2016 at 7:48 a.m.; Morgan Kathleen Carroll, born Jan. 5, 2015 at 3:42 p.m.; Alessia Maria Russo, born Jan. 9, 2014 at 1:17 a.m.; Connor Matthew Goshey, born Jan. 3, 2013 at 3:15 a.m.; Lillian Rose “Lilli” Bemister, born Jan. 4, 2012 at 9:57 a.m.; Gianna Maria Ferrante, born Jan. 14, 2011 at 10:39 a.m.; Whitney Angelina Ninomiya, born Jan. 5, 2010 at 6:57 p.m.; Jenna Marie Arsenault, born Jan. 2, 2009 at 11:47 a.m.; Amelia Grace Invencio, born Jan. 7, 2008 at 9:56 a.m., and Finn Rodger, born Jan. 4, 2007 at 11:04 a.m.
The local businesses who generously gave prizes to welcome baby and pamper mom and dad are: Abbott Shoe, $25 gift certificate; A Touch of Class Salon, free haircut and blow dry for mom and dad; Walmart of North Reading – one car seat for baby; The Savings Bank, North Reading branch, 6 Washington St. – $25 savings account for baby;
Also, Horseshoe Grille – $25 gift certificate; Kitty’s Restaurant – $25 gift certificate; The Farm Land of Wakefield – $50 gift certificate; Hilltop Nursery School – complimentary registration certificate, $75 value; Baubles Fine Jewelry of Lynnfield – $25 gift card for mom; and North Reading Transcript – one-year gift subscription or extension of subscription to the newspaper for the parents.