Letters to Our Daughters (16)

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 the lovely Jennifer Vititoe wrote to her daughters by clicking HERE. KAC_2014_05_12_0049Dear Avery and Alexa, Spring has sprung here in Seattle and our days lately have been full steam ahead!  I find we are out and about all the time, and everyday – weekday or weekend – feels a bit like a marathon, where we all pass out exhausted at the end.  It isn’t always easy to get us all out of the house, but once we manage that, it’s been great to have so many fun things to do. You guys have a million and one activities!  I don’t always get to capture all our regular activities, but last week, Avery, you asked me if I would come to your swim class and take pictures of you during class.  How can mama ever say no to a request like that?  It was so fun to watch you learning in the water with your teacher, and to see Dad and Alexa having such fun!  Now that it’s still light and warm out when class gets out, we often head to get pizza for dinner afterwards and I love that extra family time that we have.   KAC_2014_05_07_0047

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KAC_2014_05_07_0006-A   Lately has also been all about bicycles.  We recently had the bike-a-thon that Avery’s school does to raise money to build a well in Haiti.  Avery rode her bike 6 times around the track, and Alexa joined in and rode 3 times around herself.  You got awards at the end.  When she saw them, Alexa asked, “Avery, are those chocolate?”  And Avery answered, “No Alexa, these are real gold!”  🙂  You both also participated in the bicycle parade before our neighborhood block party.  You’ve both been doing so well on your  bicycles that I told your dad I think I wanted to learn to ride a bike again myself.  You all decided to get me one for Mother’s Day.  I’m really excited to get out there and learn (just as soon as we get a hitch to hook them up to the car – Mama is not good enough yet to go out in the streets!). KAC_2014_05_09_0159

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KAC_2014_05_10_0257-2   I love that you are such active little girls.  Even on our days “off” we end up doing fun things together and it’s always an adventure!  I am so excited for summer to be just around the corner and am looking forward to all the fun we are going to have.  I love you, my babies! love, Mama

Letters to Our Daughters (15)

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 good friend Jessie Wixon wrote to her daughters by clicking HERE.

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Dear Avery and Alexa,

I am writing this from our vacation in Florida.  We have been traveling for about 10 days now and still have several days before we return home.  We’ve been in NY and NJ, plus here in Clearwater and a day at Disney World.  We have visited with old friends and you have spent lots of time with Grandma and Abaji, including when I’ve headed off without you.  And although I admit that I am completely and utterly exhausted at this point in our trip, I am thrilled to realize what a joy it is to travel with you both.  You entertain each other so well, have fun whatever we are doing and make friends wherever we go.  It’s been just wonderful to see you play with the kids of my old and dear friends.  And I’ve loved seeing both old and familiar places through your eyes.

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I’ve also loved seeing you both become more and more brave.  You are sweet and loving girls, but you are also strong, adventurous, fun girls.  Avery, you want to swim in the pool and the ocean – you’re willing to try again and again, even if the waves knock you around a bit.  And Alexa, you used to be so frightened of rides and Disney characters, but you rode your first roller coaster yesterday and were thrilled to meet Chip and Dale all by yourself.

So many people have told me that they can’t believe that I would travel like this with you two and without your dad.  But we are doing so many fun things – taking advantage of this beautiful life and all the opportunities that we have!  I love to see that you two will jump at the chance to have fun, not hold yourself back because of imaginary concerns or fears about things that don’t really matter.  You are my brave girls and I am so proud of you for it.  Promise me you will always keep it up. I love you!

love,
Mama

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Letters to Our Daughters (14)

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 good friend Jennifer Vititoe wrote to her daughter by clicking HERE.

Dear Avery and Alexa,

This month, I am posting a “day in the life” series.  I want you guys to see a bit of what we do on a typical day.  We were lucky to have some gorgeous weather, so that meant we got to spend some time outside, which wasn’t truly typical for this time of year.  But I was thrilled that we got to take advantage.

The mornings are really crazy and it’s so hard to take photos when I am trying to get us all dressed and out the door.  We ran late (not uncommon for us), so when we went to drop Avery at school, we were late and had to wait outside until the door was opened again.  We all got out to wait with Avery on the porch, and she took off her shoes and left them next to her friends’.

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Then we waited.

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Once Avery went inside, Alexa looked up at me and said, “Go get coffee?”  It’s her favorite thing to do first thing in the morning – and often it’s the first time I’ve had a chance to eat anything.  We walked up the street and then into the coffee shop.  KAC_2014_02_26_0087

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That morning, Alexa had cereal and chocolate milk – and since it was warm, I had my soy latte iced.KAC_2014_02_26_0107

After our breakfast, I had to return something to a store, so we went to University Village.  It was a beautiful day, so we didn’t do too much window shopping.  We hung out near the fountain and Alexa threw coins in and then ran around the edge for a while.  KAC_2014_02_26_0137

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By that point, it was too late to head home, get lunch there and then head back to Avery’s school for pick up, so we decided to kill the rest of our morning.  We did a bit of window shopping (i.e. climbing up and down the stairs and escalator) and then got some lunch.  KAC_2014_02_26_0178

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After lunch, we went back to school to pick Avery up.  Because it was such a gorgeous day, we decided to head to the Arboretum and feed the ducks.  The Arboretum is my favorite local park and I was so happy to be there and enjoying the sunshine with you both.KAC_2014_02_26_0220

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And, of course, you both needed snacks.  KAC_2014_02_26_0328

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Then Avery wanted to be very helpful and push Alexa in the stroller on the way back to the car.  KAC_2014_02_26_0346

Alexa, you blew kisses to me through the vent – probably for saving you from being pushed off the bridge by your sister, who is still too short to see over the stroller as she is pushing it.  KAC_2014_02_26_0361

We headed home and you took a short nap.  Then dad came home and we ate dinner, and then it was time for bed.  We snuggled up together and read, and then tucked ourselves into sleep, so we could wake up the next day and do it all again.KAC_2014_02_26_0014

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I love spending my days with you monkeys.  It’s the best job ever.  I love you both more than words can say.

love,
Mama

Letters to Our Daughters (13)

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 good friend Colie wrote to her daughter Chloe by clicking HERE.

Dear Avery and Alexa,

We recently returned from our annual trip to Whistler.  This year we traveled with our friends Jason and Liz, and their adorable boys – your friends – Max and Teddy.  I didn’t take any photos of that part of the trip, however, but you will have to believe me that we had an amazing time!  Avery, you and Max took ski lessons and learned so much.  We were able to watch you skiing down the mountain and it was amazing.  Alexa, you and Teddy were in daycare during our ski days, and it was so fun to see you two become friends.  You’ve spent a lot of time tagging along with Avery’s friends, who are older, and it has been so nice to see you have a friend who is yours.

After they left, we took the day off from skiing and hung out at the village together as a family.  We rode the gondola up Whistler mountain, and then took the Peak-to-Peak across to Blackcomb.  We had lunch over there and then came back.  The Peak-to-Peak is kind of terrifying to me, and so I worried about whether it might scare you, but you both loved being on the gondolas and weren’t frightened at all.  You had your noses pressed to the windows for most of the trip, and loved being up above the trees and looking down at the mountains.

I’ve loved that you two had so much fun!  Skiing is something that your dad and I love to do together, and we really want it to be an activity that we can enjoy together as a family.  But one of the things that I love most about skiing is just how incredibly gorgeous it is on top of the mountain.  I love Whistler on a clear day, in particular, because the views are just glorious.  It makes me feel both powerful and humbled to look out at it.  I hope that you both have fun skiing, but also that you will be inspired by the beauty of the world around you.  I love you both – even more and bigger than all those mountains.

love,
Mama

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Letters to Our Daughters (12)

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 good friend Colie wrote to her daughter Chloe by clicking HERE.

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Dear Avery and Alexa,

As I sat down to write this letter to you, I realized that this is the 12th letter I have written to you in as many months – that an entire year has passed during this project.  I looked back through my letters and photos.  I see how much bigger you’ve gotten, but I also feel like the changes have been happening slowly, bit-by-bit, and I am so glad that I have made the time to document these bits of our lives.  I fear that your entire childhood will manage to slip past my fingers if I don’t make efforts to hold onto bits here and there.

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Today starts the first “routine” week of the new year.  A month ago, school was letting out and your Grandma and Abaji were arriving in town for the holidays.  We had a wonderful time visiting with them, as well as some extended family, including your cousins from Singapore.  And then, after they’d left and we’d rung in the new year, your Oma, Aunt Rosi and Uncle Gerhard arrived for a visit.  You charmed everyone and we all had a great time, both out and about showing off Seattle, and staying home playing games and such.  Though we have all been having a ton of fun, I think we are all ready to get back to our routine!  I certainly wouldn’t mind having some normal sleep patterns return.

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KAC_2014_01_13_0112Lately the two of you are obsessed with Frozen.  We saw the movie in the theater twice, and recently bought the soundtrack.  We’ve heard “Let It Go” about two dozen times each day.  I think that you know all the words at this point-  Avery even inquired about what “frozen fractals” are! – and you’ve learned how to work our new Sonos speakers so that you can play it whenever you would like.  All these photos were taken while singing and dancing to the soundtrack.  I admit that I really loved the movie as well.  I adore that it is a story about two sisters and their love for one another.  And I love that you are so taken with Elsa, who is a queen in the movie, and has no need to be rescued by some silly prince.  Avery, I was at first a bit surprised that you seemed to prefer Elsa to Anna, who seemed to me to be the more likable sister (not that it is a competition!).  But you’ve let me know that you like that she is the queen, and she has the better dresses as well as the amazing ice powers.  Three cheers for powerful, gutsy, complicated women – with the bonus of an awesome wardrobe.  😉

KAC_2014_01_13_0135This weekend, our dear family friends had a baby boy – little Ozzie.  You were able to meet him yesterday, when he was less than one day old.  We went to their house and you washed your hands and came to meet the baby.  After I’d held him for a little while, Avery you looked at me and said, “Mom, can I have a turn?”  We propped you up in the bed and you held him in your arms just perfectly.  And not long after you’d returned him to me, Alexa, you came over and wanted to hold him as well.  Alexa, you are now about the age that Avery was when you were born, so seeing you hold a newborn brought back lovely memories of bringing you home.  Alexa, you were so taken by little Ozzie, you kept returning to us, to hold him again and again, giving him little kisses on his head.  It was beautiful.  Seeing how sweet and gentle and loving the two of you are makes me feel like my heart could just burst.

You’ve both expressed wanting a baby ever since.  Alexa, as we were leaving, you told us that you wanted to bring him with us “in the car.”  And Avery, you asked us if we could have a baby boy too, to which we have responded, “probably not.”  Although neither your dad nor I are certain that we don’t want more kids, I have to say that our hearts are incredibly full with our family just the way it is right now.  You two are so wonderful and it makes it quite hard to want to change a thing.  We are so lucky to have you.

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love,
Mama

Letters to Our Daughters (11)

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 the lovely Jennifer Vititoe wrote to her daughter by clicking HERE.

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Dear Avery and Alexa,

My little monkeys, it is the most wonderful time of the year and we are doing Christmas up!  Since we returned from our trip to NJ for Thanksgiving, we have been doing at least one holiday-related event each day.  It’s been so much fun!  I love passing on and creating new traditions with you, and seeing the holidays through your eyes.  We have done so many things already – saw Frozen in the theater, made gingerbread cookies and decorated them, decorated gingerbread houses, made hot chocolate with candy canes and made a batch of gingerbread play dough for your friends.  You’ve been painting ornaments for presents, and you have your own felt Christmas tree in your room that you’ve been redecorating regularly.

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We went out together in the frigid Seattle weather (frigid for Seattle at least!) and got our tree.  You two had such fun running around, under and behind the trees!  And you’ve helped us to decorate (and, well, undecorate too)!

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We have been talking a bit about the “meaning” of Christmas (we are decidedly not religious, so I am not referring to that).  I love Christmas, and I love the things that I believe it stands for – things like kindness, charity, family, selflessness, and caring for others.  Tomorrow we will be joining some of our local photographer friends and their children and bringing some treats to a senior center – along with a plan where we will sing some Christmas carols for them.  I am a little concerned about how well we will do with that endeavor, especially since you both like to make up your own words for songs (yesterday I learned about Santa’s other reindeer – Bouncer, Basher and Pantser – hmmmm….), but I hope that you will manage to spread some good cheer and learn how good that can feel.

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Today was a complicated lesson in this same arena.  On my way to preschool pick-up, I noticed a car parked on the corner that was so filled with junk I was certain someone was living in there.  I’ve been reading article after article recently about how we have lost our social safety net, and how more and more people are falling over the edge and ending up homeless.  Avery, when I picked you up, I told you that I thought there was someone who needed food nearby, and asked if we should make her some lunch.  You thought it was a great idea, and began helping me pack things up.  This picture above, with my two helpers, was taken before we headed out to bring food to the woman in the car.  When we arrived and spoke to her, she told us that she is not homeless, she just has a dirty car because she takes care of others and spends so much time in it.  She told you both how sweet you were, but she wouldn’t accept the food, not even the cookies we’d baked, though you told her how you’d helped to make them.  I don’t believe her – I think she needed help but was uncomfortable accepting it – and I’ve been sad ever since.  One day, when you are older and are reading this, I want you to remember that it is ok to accept help when it is offered.  The times that we need help the most are the times that it is hardest to ask for it or to accept it.  You *should* accept it, and never be embarrassed that you did so.  No one out there really makes it on their own – we have all had help.  Get over the discomfort of offering and the embarrassment of accepting.

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In the meanwhile, I am going to make sure that your silly elf reports to Santa what wonderful kids you are and how fantastic you’ve been at soaking in the Christmas spirit and spreading good cheer.  Despite my sadness today, you both are making this season the most fun I’ve had since I was a little girl.  I love you both so much and am so very proud of you.  Merry Christmas, my angels.

love,
Mama

Letters to Our Daughters (10)

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 wonderful, dear friend Emily Jackson of Cat and Fiddle Photography wrote to her daughter Claire by clicking HERE.KAC_2013_11_17_0165

Dear Avery and Alexa,

My little monkeys, my baby girls – you are getting so big.  I probably say that every month, but you just had your birthdays so I am feeling it these days.  Now you tell *everyone*, “I’m four!” and “I two!”  You are so proud of getting older and getting to do more big girl things.  After your birthdays, we took you on a surprise trip to Disneyland for the weekend.  Both of you rode bigger rides than you’d ever been on before and you loved it!  It was so fun to see you try something a little bit scary, with the rush that followed, the joy and the pride.  Alexa, you had SO much fun at Disneyland that you can’t stop talking about it.  You are ready to tell just everyone that you went there and you met Mickey and Goofy!  I have to admit that the celebration of your birthday was a bit over-the-top, between the actual birthdays themselves, the weekend at Disneyland and then your party.  We are going to have to spend the holiday season focusing on doing things instead of getting things to undo some of the damage, I think!

KAC_2013_11_03_0203(Thank you to my friend Gaby for taking the family photo!  Pardon the expression on my kids – we were keeping them from their 5th cupcakes and giant pile of gifts.)

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I am becoming a bit afraid of late that the lawyer skills in your dad and I may have been passed along to you.  You have recently been taking some positions in opposition to mine and it is interesting to see how you are sticking to those positions for longer than I expected.  Avery, the other day when we were driving in the car, you told me that you don’t want to get a dog anymore (you’d wanted one for some time), and that instead you would like a turtle.  You promised me that you would keep this turtle safe from our cats by putting it in a safe place where they could not get to it.  I explained to you that I wasn’t so concerned about the cats harming a turtle (I expect that turtles can take care of themselves), but that turtles live a very long time – longer than a 4 year old girl is likely to remain interested in one.  This argument hasn’t really won you over, as you’ve continued to let me know that you would still like a turtle, and you regularly suggest names for it.  “Leafy” is my favorite of the ones you’ve mentioned.

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Alexa, the last few weeks have been challenging since we decided to enroll you in preschool a couple of mornings a week.  Avery took to preschool with a simple, “bye, Mom, see  ya!”  You, however, have not been the same at all.  You are excited about the idea of school – having friends, playing, doing art and singing songs.  You seem to believe, however, that I should attend as well.  This was not actually the goal – in fact, it defeats the goal pretty much entirely – but that doesn’t particularly concern you.  I am not sure how to proceed on this one, but I have to admit that a part of me really loves feeling needed this way.  You are growing more able and independent all the time, and it is nice that you are still my baby.

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I also must mention that you have been playing together so very well lately.  It seems to be birthday party season, with parties each weekend, and it is fun to see you both running around with your friends.  You don’t spend the whole time playing together, but you do check on one another regularly, which is pretty awesome in my book.  And you’ve been great at sharing all the many, many, many new toys you received for your birthdays.  Figurines from one toy are used with others, all in the princess tent, with babies being brought in and out to play as well.  You’ve been working on playing games together, which is pretty amazing (though Alexa, you’re still working on understanding the rules, and Avery, you are working on being a good sport), and you often play elaborate games of pretend, where you are doctors or vets or hair stylists or animals.  It’s really adorable and I cannot get enough of watching you.  This photographer mama is also thrilled that you’ve been so much more willing to let me take your pictures as well, like the ones featured here of the Bumble Bee and Lady Bug.  You’re too cute for words and so I am so glad that I can capture these moments for us.  I love you so much!  Thank you for being so wonderful.

love,
Mama

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Letters to Our Daughters (9)

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 lovely friend Laura Martin Mood wrote to her daughter Sarah by clicking HERE.

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I wanted to mention that my post this month consists entirely of photos that I shot on film over the last several months.  Though I do most of my shooting digitally, I love shooting film for a whole bunch of reasons, one of which is the feeling of nostalgia that it can impart.  With my girls’ impending birthdays, I am feeling particularly nostalgic, so film just seems like the right way to go.

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KAC_2013_10_03_0015Dear Avery and Alexa,

My baby girls.  It is October and that means it is your birthday month!  Alexa, you are about to turn two and Avery you will soon be four.  I can’t believe that you’ve gotten so big – and I can’t believe that I have been a mommy for four years.  In some ways, I cannot imagine that I was ever anything else, and then in others it feels like these past few years have just gone by in a flash.

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These last few months I’ve noticed each of you growing and learning so many new things.  Avery, you have been recognizing numbers and letters, trying out their sounds.  I can see that reading is not far away.  Just today you were practicing writing your name for me.  I’d tried to get you to work with me on paper, but you weren’t interested.  But when I pulled out the dry-erase markers and let you write on the glass of our front door, you were suddenly happy to practice.  I think it will be a while before you master your oh-so-long last name, but you did an amazing job with your first name and were eager to write your sister’s name as well.  It made me so proud.

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Alexa, you have been saying more complicated things all the time and are just a parrot for everything that you hear.  When people ask you how old you are, you tell them, “three and a half” because that is what Avery says!  You sing all day long and lately I have been just amazed at how much you pick up.  You sing along to “Royals” by Lorde in the car with me, which I think might make you the coolest kid ever.  And this weekend at the Madrona Art Walk, you were dancing to the guy playing the fiddle, like your little hips just couldn’t contain themselves.  It was really fantastic to see!  I am thinking of starting you in school for a couple mornings each week, and I know that you will just love it.  And even though I could use a little break now and then, the idea also makes me quite sad.  You are my little partner in crime, my buddy on all my errands, the one who twists my arm into buying a latte each day.  I am not sure what I will do without you for those few hours!

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I can’t tell you how often I look at our lives right now and want to freeze these moments.  They are not always easy, but truly they are more wonderful than I ever could have dreamed.  You are so smart and funny that you make us laugh all day long.  You run around mostly naked all day, trying to hug Charlie the cat or turn every pillow into a fort, or pretending to be dogs.  You are so sweet to each other (mostly), full of snuggles for your dad and me, and still small enough that you can and will fall asleep in our arms at night.  I know that you will grow into incredible young women, but right now I just love having you little.  I know that soon this moment will pass and I want to hold onto it just a little bit longer.  I love you so very much.

love,
Mama

Letters to Our Daughters (8)

As you probably recall, 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 and read the post that my dear friend Sherri Davis has written to her adorable daughter Leah by clicking HERE.

 

Dear Avery and Alexa,

Yesterday we went to the State Fair with Grandma and Abaji.  We had such a fun time!  It was a cold day, very gray, with bits of rain here and there (and a few, short-lived, bits of sunshine), until we got into the car to come home and then it poured.  How lucky.  Although I’ve been to plenty of carnivals and the like over the years, I don’t think that I’ve ever been to a State Fair before.  It was simply huge – I think we maybe saw a quarter of it – and I simply loved seeing it through your eyes.  I also loved having Grandma and Abaji there, not only so they could see it, but because that place is pure chaos and thank goodness for extra hands!

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These days, you two play together often, have your own little games and jokes, and spend much of your time doing the same thing.  People notice this, and often will also tell me how much you two look alike.  But yesterday, all I could think about is how very different that you two are!  Avery, you are entirely fearless and are ready to jump into any adventure at a moment’s notice.

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You wanted to ride every ride, even the ones that are much much too big for you (no you did not ride that!).

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Alexa, you have no problem terrifying mama on the playground with the way that you climb and explore, but you had no interest in the rides at all.  Avery rode the boats – the very slow, mom walks along side as she’s riding, nothing happens at all, boats – three times in an attempt to entice you to join, but you wanted none of it.

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The only ride we managed to get you on was the choo-choo train with Grandma, which you rode twice.

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But you loved exploring, taking in the sites, playing with the odd drum kit, climbing on the benches and funny-looking massage chairs.

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You loved visiting with all the animals, including seeing the bunnies and the chicks and the 5-day-old piggies.  You have, as your Abaji has told me, the sweetest soul.

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Avery liked the animals, too.  But then she wanted to get back to the rides!

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Both of you liked feeding the sheep.KAC_2013_09_16_0587

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But Alexa, you had no interest in riding any ponies, real or not.

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You would have stayed at the display for the Elephant Ears all day, though!

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I loved seeing the different ways that you like to explore, your different likes and personalities.  And I love getting to be your mama and have all these adventures with you, to see the world through your eyes.  Almost enough to try to go back to the fair before it ends.  Almost.  😉

love,
Mama

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Letters to Our Daughters (7)

As you probably recall, 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 and read the post that my dear friend Colie of Colie James Photography has written to her adorable daughter, Chloe.  Chloe turned three this week, so be sure to head on over there and wish her a happy birthday by clicking HERE.

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Dear Avery and Alexa,

My monkeys, my trouble-makers, my little loves.  Time is flying and you are getting so big.  There are people all around us who are pregnant or have recently had babies, and I look at you two and you are not babies anymore – you are both little girls now.  And, of course, you will always be my babies.

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I remind you of this, Avery, all the time lately, because you have taken to telling me that you are a “big girl” and obviously dispute my claims.  But it is true, you are my baby, you will always be my baby.  Even still, I am so impressed by how you’ve grown, though apprehensive about how quickly it all happens.  Last summer you attended camp a few mornings for a couple weeks – the first time you were ever at “school” in an activity without me.  This summer has been jam-packed with activities.  Travel, camp at the zoo, camp at school, James visiting now.  We are taking the last couple weeks off so that we can have some downtime before school starts again in the fall.  I love how much you’ve learned and grown in these activities, but they make time go too fast sometimes.  Although you’ve had camp that you could attend pretty much everyday, I have told you that you could stay home whenever you wanted to and those few days at home together – unexpected, unfilled with plans – have been truly wonderful.  Often, when faced with the option of heading off to museums and cool locations throughout the city, you’d prefer to stick close to home, read some books, walk across the street to play at the playground.  Those simple moments are the best and I am so grateful for the ways that you slow us all down.

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Alexa, the changes in you in the last year are obviously even greater.  You have been learning so much lately and your ability to express yourself and to do increasingly complicated things has been so impressive.  You love to sing, especially the ABCs, and you managed to count to almost 20 with your dad just yesterday.  I am constantly terrified on the playground because you love to tackle the pieces meant for kids much older – and most of the time you do it quite well.  You’ve been wanting to grow up and be a big girl like your sister, so you are currently in bed wearing three pairs of underwear in addition to your diaper and pajamas.  I’ve been blown away that you will use the potty by yourself if we are at home and you are naked (your preferred state these days), though you haven’t quite learned to distinguish between the functionality of underwear and a diaper.  Soon enough, I am sure.  With Avery participating in all these activities, you have become my daily companion most mornings.  Although I admit that I get frustrated that you no longer are content to play while I respond to emails or attempt to edit some photos, these mother-daughter activities are so special to me.  I love that we have our own breakfast place, or that after we drop Avery at camp in the morning you will first request “coffee” and then, after a trip to the coffee shop, you demand “playground.”  You are a girl who knows what she wants and now you are able to ask for it.  I hope that you always do.KAC_2013_07_31_0011

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This summer it has been especially rewarding to see your friendship deepen.  I had hoped that, because you are close in age, you would become playmates, and it has been wonderful to see that wish come true.  You really seem to be happiest when you are together.  When I was taking these photos above, I had planned to take pictures of only one of you at a time.  Neither of you had any interest in letting that happen, though, and it was really hard to have you separated.  Although you don’t always need to do the exact same thing at the same time, you both prefer to be nearby to one another – playing with different toys, perhaps, but both on the floor of the living room.  I know that Alexa is a little jealous that Avery gets to go off to school, and Avery gets a little jealous of the one-on-one time that Alexa gets with me.  But luckily for all of us, most of the time you are just happy to be together.  There is nothing that a parent could want more than to have their children extra loved because they are loved by one another.  Truly, it’s the best thing ever.  I love you both so much.

love,
Mama