Letters to Our Daughters (May 2015)

I have been participating in a blog circle with some wonderful photographers who are also mothers of girls. Each month (more or less), we write a letter to our daughters to preserve thoughts and memories of this time in our lives. I treasure being able to do this for my girls and I love the chance to see the messages that my friends leave for their own daughters. You can access all the letters by clicking HERE. Once you have read my letter, please follow continue on to see what my friend Nicole Johnson wrote to her daughter Chloe by clicking HERE.

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Dear Avery and Alexa,

I am writing you this letter from a hotel room in Whitefish, Montana.  Tomorrow we are off to explore Glacier National Park.  We drove yesterday to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho and then the rest of the way today.  It was a last-minute trip.  We were having dinner last Sunday with our friends – the parents of your friends Max and Teddy – who had plans to come here and invited us along.  We decided to join, though the timing meant we would have to drive here rather than train or fly, and we truly had almost no idea what we were getting into.  But your dad and I promised each other adventures and so you two – our biggest adventures of all – come along for our crazy rides.

I think that this adventuring has helped you both to be more adventurous yourselves.  That picture above is from your first soccer practice, and the ones below are a mixture of that one and the following week.  (Yes, that’s right – I am now officially a soccer mom.)  I am so proud of you both for how you’ve thrown yourselves into this and are having so much fun.  It’s so wonderful to watch you run around and play!

I hope that, as you grow older, you continue to love all the amazing things that your body lets you do.  We are so lucky to have such a wonderful life – to be able to take trips, see beautiful places, hike mountains, and to run fast, play games, and spend time with our friends.  Have fun and go on all the adventures that you can handle (though I do recommend naps in between).  I love you and am so very proud of you!

love,
Mama

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Letters to Our Daughters (April 2015)

I have been participating in a blog circle with some wonderful photographers who are also mothers of girls. Each month (more or less), we write a letter to our daughters to preserve thoughts and memories of this time in our lives. I treasure being able to do this for my girls and I love the chance to see the messages that my friends leave for their own daughters. You can access all the letters by clicking HERE. Once you have read my letter, please follow continue on to see what my friend Jennifer Vititoe wrote by clicking HERE.

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Dear Avery and Alexa,

My babies, my monkeys, my funny girls.  Last week you were on Spring Break.  Most often we travel on your breaks, but this time we did not.  We just stayed here in Seattle and we hung out.  We went to gymnastics, and we went swimming.  We went to the beach and we went to the zoo.  You did a day of camp, a cooking school, where you made hamburgers, fries and a chocolate milk shake.  You loved it, of course.  During all this, we didn’t fully abandon our schedules, but we weren’t particularly strict with them either.  Lots of time was spent here in the house – playing with your toys and building many forts.  You pretended to sleep, snuggled up, with every pillow, plenty of toys and half the couch cushions surrounding you.

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We will have several weeks this summer when you will be home with me and not in school or camp or anything scheduled.  Last year, I was worried that it would be too much to have you both home for long stretches of time, so Avery you went to camp quite a lot.  In the end, you got along and played together so well that I regretted that we were so busy and didn’t get to have life slow down enough.  I am looking forward to more free time this summer, but I am still a little nervous.  Without things like school to get us out of the house first thing, we sometimes can’t seem to get anywhere at all.  Lunch plans are cancelled, naps happen late and we fail to make it to late afternoon play dates.

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And then there is this.  The damned electronics.  The iPhones and iPad and YouTube and Nintendo Wii.  I hide them, but you find them.  They are irresistible.  Even for me – I know I am addicted to my silly phone myself and it is the worst of examples.  You play with these things for a little and they give me a break, but for longer and they make you just terrible.  Just today I changed the codes on my iPhone and the iPads from the ones that you learned, and you were so angry.  Alexa, you told me that you didn’t want to be my kid anymore!  You took it back quickly, but you were mad – even if it’s usually your sister who manages to get into the toys and control them.  I don’t want a summer full of this crap.  I want to be outside, at the park or the beach – or even with you on the patio playing with your water table.  I have no interest in a summer full of movies and electronic games.  We all need to learn to be bored, to let boredom inspire us to be creative.  These gadgets get in the way of that, time and again.

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I hope that we can have a summer that is a balance of relaxation and fun.  Your mother has a serious case of FOMO (fear of missing out) and a tendency to over-schedule and over-commit, so I know I need to be careful.  I remember my childhood summers as long, carefree days and I want to have that for you, too.  I need to remember that days of fort building, where we barely manage to get out of the house (at least not beyond the coffee shop – that is a daily requirement), are an important component of a successful summer.  That we are lucky to have a playground across the street, and a beach 5 minutes away, and that if we do little more than that we have still done more than a summer day requires.

I am so excited to have this time with you now.  Avery, you start kindergarten soon and will be away from me and from Alexa for a much larger chunk of time.  So I want to take advantage of these long expanses of time together while I can.  I have so much fun with you – being your mom is the absolute best!  I love you.

love,
Mama

Letters to Our Daughters (March 2015)

I have been participating in a blog circle with some wonderful photographers who are also mothers of girls. Each month (more or less), we write a letter to our daughters to preserve thoughts and memories of this time in our lives. I treasure being able to do this for my girls and I love the chance to see the messages that my friends leave for their own daughters. You can access all the letters by clicking HERE. Once you have read my letter, please follow continue on to see what my friend Jennifer Vititoe wrote by clicking HERE.

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Dear Avery and Alexa,

My babies, my monkeys, my little loves, my trouble-makers.  I love you both more than words can say.

In last month’s letter I promised to try to photograph your everyday more, and I have been doing a little better I think.  I worried that you would run from my camera, and at times you have, but at other times you’ve been willing participants.  Like this one above, which makes me laugh so much.  Grandma and Abaji were visiting, so we’d gone for lunch down the street at The Hi Spot.  And on our way back, you discovered this new bike rack that has been installed by one of the new buildings.  You were happy to be goofballs for me!  You love to be silly – you’re such happy kids.

You were willing to be photographed for the 90 second challenge for Let Them Be Little, too.  These pictures below are outtakes from that.  You just wanted to be able to choose your outfits and accessories.  I was hoping for hats, boas and sunglasses, but you have your own ideas now.  I wouldn’t mind if you were a bit more agreeable to my ideas at times, but I am glad that you make your own decisions and speak your minds.

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You’ve been getting more and more grown-up lately.  Last month, Alexa, you were on skis for the first time.  You didn’t love going to ski school each morning, but you were so proud of yourself and your new skills.  You told us that you know how to ski, that you did it all by yourself.  Your dad and I skied up and hid so we could watch you.  We saw you – going up the magic carpet, turning both directions, slowing to a stop – and I don’t know if I’ve ever been more proud of you.  You could have asked for a puppy at that moment and I would have said ok.  😉

KAC_2015_03_18_0347Avery, you are in your last year of preschool and I am starting to get really sentimental about that.  Next year, you are going to be in kindergarten, 5 days a week, for 6 hours a day.  I am going to miss you so much.  We have been looking at a lot of schools for you and for one you had to go to the school for an assessment, essentially an interview.  I was so nervous about it, but you were just excited to be there.  You wanted to check out the playground, see the bunnies and chickens – you were just immediately comfortable.  I love that you love school – that learning is fun and that you have this wonderful, curious mind.  I also love that you have this kind, caring personality.  You take care of the younger kids at preschool, and you are drawn to all sorts of creatures, great and small.  You like learning about great white sharks, but you also like collecting worms.  Just yesterday at the playground you came crying to me that a boy had stepped on your worm and hurt it.  You are a kind soul and I am so proud of you for it.

I love you both so much!

love,
Mama

 

Letters to Our Daughters (Feb 2015)

I have been participating in a blog circle with some wonderful photographers who are also mothers of girls. Each month (more or less), we write a letter to our daughters to preserve thoughts and memories of this time in our lives. I treasure being able to do this for my girls and I love the chance to see the messages that my friends leave for their own daughters. You can access all the letters by clicking HERE.  Once you have read my letter, please follow continue on to see what my friend Jenn Valluzzo wrote by clicking HERE.

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Dear Avery and Alexa,

I caught you in your bed yesterday, mid-afternoon, looking like this.  You’d stolen my phone, climbed up somewhere comfortable, snuggled together and were playing games.  This photo, above, captures how it feels to be your mom for me.  I am used to seeing you this way – up close, curled up, with a good view of your incredible lashes, and without a lot of perspective.  Too close to focus properly.  You’re pushing a boundary, of course, but that’s your job right now – to push boundaries.

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So I decided we would go downstairs and do one of your favorite projects.  We roll out paper onto the floor, trace your bodies, and then you can color yourselves in, however you’d like.

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Avery wrote “I ♥ U” on Alexa’s.  I am so lucky that you two love each other so much and are so sweet to each other (most of the time anyway).

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You worked hard for a while, first each of you on your own drawing, but then Avery you decided to help Alexa with hers.  She isn’t as fast as you just yet.

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Of course, you each used a lot of blue, because you were dressed like Elsa.  Obviously.

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I realized when I was taking these photos of you, that I haven’t been taking so many pictures these days.  It’s a combination of things – I’ve run out of memory and need to get a bigger hard drive, I’m too behind in editing and hate to make it worse, and it’s been winter (when the sun sets SO early – you can see there is almost no light in these photos) and I get bored or blue.  But I love having these pictures of our everyday activities and I want to back to taking more of them again.  I love all the little things that we do.  You make our day-to-day so fun, and I know we will have less time together each year, especially when you start kindergarten in the fall, Avery.  So I want to make time to be better about capturing that.  Hopefully my camera won’t make you want to run away!  😉

Thank you for making being your mom the most fun job there ever was.  I love you both the mostest – more than chocolate, ice cream, cheesecake AND coffee.  😉

love,
Mama

 

Letters to Our Daughters (22)

I have been participating in a blog circle with some wonderful photographers who are also mothers of girls. Each month, we write a letter to our daughters to preserve thoughts and memories of this time in our lives. I treasure being able to do this for my girls and I love the chance to see the messages that my friends leave for their own daughters. Once you have read my letter, please follow continue on to see what my friend Jennifer Vititoe wrote to her daughters by clicking HERE.

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Dear Avery and Alexa,

Last week, we went to a Superhero Dance Party .  And it was the perfect activity, because lately you have been my little heroes.  We just returned from a trip to the east coast, where we had a wonderful time visiting with family and friends.  You were fantastic travelers, even when Alexa got a miserable cold.  You were easy-going and flexible, you had good manners, and you are so awesome on airplanes that I will travel with you anywhere, anytime.

When it was time to return to Seattle, Avery you were not happy at all to leave.  You were having so much fun with family and you wanted to stay.  I tried to entice you with thoughts of Christmas.  I asked what you wanted to do when we got back, thinking you’d talk about seeing Santa or decorating or even going right for presents. Instead, you looked at me and said, “Maybe we could buy some toys for kids who don’t have any?”

My mama heart just about burst.

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That isn’t to say that you both haven’t been excited about the many Christmas celebrations that we are having, or that you haven’t spent plenty of time telling me what you would like to get from Santa.  And actually you have been pretty clear that you don’t care if Santa brings it or we buy it, so long as you get it.  Ha!  But all in all, it’s clear that you love everything about the holiday season and you are making it all so fun.  You are thrilled each morning to wake up and see where our elf, Rainbow Chippie, is hanging out.  (You can see her below roasting marshmallows with some of  your dolls in the photo below).  You can’t wait to open the next day’s lego in your advent calendar from Grandma Rheta.  And you are excited about the idea of giving gifts as well as getting them.
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I am grateful for you guys, my little Superheroes.  You make everything and everywhere a good time – especially a bar, in the middle of the afternoon, filled with bubbles – and you remind me of what is important.

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Merry Christmas, my little loves!

love,
Mama

 

Letters to Our Daughters (21)

I have been participating in a blog circle with some wonderful photographers who are also mothers of girls. Each month, we write a letter to our daughters to preserve thoughts and memories of this time in our lives. I treasure being able to do this for my girls and I love the chance to see the messages that my friends leave for their own daughters. Once you have read my letter, please follow continue on to see what Delania Waddell wrote to her daughter by clicking HERE.

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Dear Avery and Alexa,

My lovely little girls.  You have been so patient with me lately.  I’ve been taking pictures of other people, and spending lots of time at home editing those photos.  I haven’t been able to spend as much timing playing with you as we normally do.  But it turns out that you two play so well together that you don’t seem to mind.

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That isn’t to say that you don’t get on one another’s nerves.  There are regular arguments about who gets to put in the last piece of the puzzle, whether the TV show  you get to watch will be Octonauts or Jake, and whether the game of pretend will be Frozen-based again.  You also disagree, repeatedly, about who is “bigger” – which is much too cute an argument for me to want to resolve.

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I also will sometimes find you getting into a bit of trouble here and there.  Climbing into the pantry to get candy hidden on top.  Or when you decide that you, Avery, should “decorate” your sister with markers, so she is covered with dots on her face and body.  Or when you sneak the iPad and go hide somewhere to play with it and I think you are off playing pretend once again.

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I have to admit that sometimes I am a little jealous of your relationship.  You two are always having fun together and each has the other to be her partner in crime.  But more than that, I have noticed lately that you have been taking care of one another – especially you, Avery, of your little sister.  If Alexa is scared, because she woke up and I wasn’t there, or because there is a scary villain in a movie, you will hold her and tell her that she is ok.  Afterwards,  you will tell me proudly that you took care of her and it fills my heart with love and pride.

I hope you will have fun together and take care of one another forever.

love,
Mama

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Letters to Our Daughters (20)

I have been participating in a blog circle with some wonderful photographers who are also mothers of girls. Each month, we write a letter to our daughters to preserve thoughts and memories of this time in our lives. I treasure being able to do this for my girls and I love the chance to see the messages that my friends leave for their own daughters. Once you have read my letter, please follow continue on to see what Jennifer Vititoe wrote to her daughter by clicking HERE.

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Dear Avery and Alexa,

Hey look, it’s us!  The whole family!  We went apple picking recently with Uncle Julius and Aunt Cristina (plus Max-the-Dog).  Julius was nice enough to take this picture of us.  We don’t have enough pictures of the four of us together, and I love them even if I am not necessarily looking my best, because I love our family the most of anything in the whole wide world.

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But most of the pictures I am going to use in this letter are actually a few weeks old.  Late this summer, we bought a butterfly garden kit.  I sent away for the caterpillars and we received a small cup in the mail with 5 of them and a weird peanut butter type substance that served as their food.  They ate and ate, doubled in size about everyday, and finally each formed a chrysalis.  Then the butterflies emerged and we had them in our house for a few days.  You are supposed to release them after about 5 days, but we waited a little longer.  You wanted to wait until Dad could be there before we released them, and I wanted there to be nice light, so we waited about a week later than we should have.  Then I realized that they were mating like crazy and filling their garden with tiny little eggs (you can see the little pale blue eggs on the (quickly rotting) peach slices above).  I was afraid that they would die on us, but we finally managed to release them.  Avery, you wore your butterfly dress for the occasion.

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Your Oma was in town and she got to participate.  🙂KAC_2014_09_20_0025

 

It was so cool to get to see how well you did, treating the butterflies gently, and to see your expressions.  You each took turns, reaching into the garden and bringing out a butterfly.  One by one, they flew away.  KAC_2014_09_20_0034

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I know that it is a bit of a silly metaphor, but I think of you girls and how you are my butterflies.  Just like them, you will probably be ready to fly away before I am quite ready.  In fact, we were supposed to move the butterflies from the little cup into the big garden as soon as they had formed their chrysalis.  But we procrastinated, like I usually do, and I was in denial.  The instructions said the butterflies would take 7-10 days to emerge, but it was wrong – ours were faster.  Or was it that I counted wrong, that my sense of the time was different?  In any case, those first two butterflies emerged still in that tiny cup instead of in the big garden.  And there we were, running about on a hectic weekday morning, trying to get you ready for school, only to be surprised by the sight of a butterfly in that tiny container.  The big change had occurred and we were too caught up in the day-to-day to realize.  We had to move them all right away, and emerging into that tiny container might have damaged the wings of one butterfly, which were just a bit wonky.  I don’t want that to happen to you.  I know that my job right now is to keep you safe and growing, but I promise to make sure that you will also have room to spread your wings and fly.  I love you.

love,
Mama