Letters to Our Daughters (19)

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 (but mostly Alexa),

September is often more the start of the “new year” than January, especially when you are in school.  And this year, both of you are in school!  Avery is in her last year of preschool and Alexa just starting.  It has left me feeling incredibly proud of you, though also just a little bit sad that the era of you being home with me has come to a close.

Alexa, you have taken to school like a fish to water!  I was a little nervous, because when we tried last year to put you into a program a couple mornings each week, you did not like it at all.  I am not sure that you lasted more than two weeks.  This year, however, you were off and I had to remind you to please give me a kiss before heading into the classroom without a second look.  I am so glad to see that you love it and that you are already learning so much.

Avery, you have been an amazing big sister and so helpful in getting Alexa settled into school!  You make sure that she knows where to go and what to do.  You’ve been really thoughtful and supportive.  I am also so proud of you for working so hard and being excited for your reading program.  You are so proud of being a Pre-K kid!

The first day of school, you decided to be such funny photographer’s kids.  You made it so hard to get a good picture of you!  I have a ton of terrible pictures like these:

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Your dad drove you to school that morning and I followed alone in my car, because we both wanted to see you off and you always choose to ride with dad when you can.  I was so sad – you’d driven ahead with him and I couldn’t catch up – and the car had never felt so empty.  And even though I arrived before you’d gathered your things from his car, it still felt like the start of a big chasm.  I’d been so excited for you to start school, because I knew how much you would love it, but it is also, in some ways, the start of your life beyond me.
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All I could think about was the absence of my little buddy, who would go with me to the grocery store or for a walk in the park in the mornings.  After weeks of looking forward to those few hours of “freedom,” when I’d get to be by myself for a few hours, I was suddenly heartbroken by the idea.  I missed you.

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We were late that day, of course.  We had to sit on the porch for a few minutes waiting for your teachers to let you in.  I so needed those few moments.  We were able to hang out for a moment, be a little silly, and Mommy got to calm down and not feel the entire future in one little moment.  It’s hard sometimes, wanting to hold on, and yet being so proud of how you are growing up right in front of me.

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You had a great day, of course, and you came home exhausted.  You fell asleep in the car on the ride home and I carried you upstairs to the couch.  Still small, still my babies.  And even though I am sure that I will have plenty of other moments like the ones I had in the car that day, I think that, as long as you keep coming back to me, I will be ok.

I love you and I am so very proud of you.

love,
Mama

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Letters to Our Daughters (18)

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 Jenn Valluzo wrote to her daughter by clicking HERE.

KAC_2014_08_05_0104Dear Avery and Alexa (though mostly Avery this month),

Last night we got back from a trip to Grandma and Abaji’s.  We already took a big vacation this summer, but we wanted to spend some time with our family and friends.  It was a busy 10 days, of course, though we managed to keep it a little more low key than many of our trips.  You got to spend time with family, including your Oma, your Uncle Omar and Auntie Maleeha and others.  Both your grandmothers were able to be with you when you took a little morning class on ponds.  You enjoyed coloring and hearing the story on ponds – Avery, your hand was in the air to answer every question asked! – but your favorite part was bringing home your own little pond each (even if two of Alexa’s tadpoles, and Avery’s one mosquito fish, all went missing; at least there were lots of baby snails!).  KAC_2014_08_06_0122We were lucky that we got to spend lots of time with our good friends.  Aunt Stacey and Uncle John held a barbecue at their apartment so you could see many of your friends.  And James, Rhett and Alexandra came to New Jersey to have a swimming day (or two) with us, which was so much fun!  It was so nice to see how well you, James and Rhett all get along and that you remember each other even after we’ve been away for a long time.  It was so good to be able to see Rhett now that his leukemia treatments are coming to a happy end, and to be able to give Uncle John big hugs after the sad loss of his brother.  I am certain that these issues – which were among the driving factors for taking this trip right now for me – were almost entirely above your heads, but I think that is ok.  What is important is that we reconnect with the people we love.  And, of course, that we have fun together!  You guys had so much fun swimming!!  I was thrilled to be able to use my underwater housing for my camera and wish that we’d had more time in the pool with it!  

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KAC_2014_08_08_0475Avery, after a day of swimming with your friends, you figured out how to swim underwater.  It was so fun to see you!  I only wish we’d had more time to play there.  I am going to have to drag us to some water parks here in Seattle so we can swim some more!

KAC_2014_08_08_0500This summer is going much too fast!  I want more time with my little loves.  I’ve just loved all the adventures that I get to take with you and I don’t want the adventuring to turn into a regular schedule just yet.  You make life so much fun!  I love you!

love,
Mama KAC_2014_08_10_0511

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Letters to Our Daughters (17)

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.

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Dear Avery and Alexa,

Just a little over a week ago, we returned from a vacation in Switzerland and Italy.  (Getting ready for this trip caused me to miss a month in this Letters to Our Daughters series!).  We had an incredible time – it is truly one of the best vacations I have ever had – and you two were simply amazing traveling companions.  I took a TON of photos (surprise, surprise) and it will take me some time to get through them all, so the ones in this post are only from the Swiss portion of our trip.

I want to tell you two (who will hopefully one day be parents yourselves) and any other parents out there – consider traveling with your kids.  You guys are young, and the flights were long, and yes there is jet lag.  It requires flexibility as a parent, which can be work.  But truly, you rose to most every occasion, had a wonderful time wherever you went, and we were able to have an adventure as a family.  Your world got a little bigger, a little more diverse and hopefully a little more familiar.  And your dad and I got to see those things through your eyes, and even got to experience the infectious curiosity and excitement that only kids have.  We also got to share our passion for travel, our passion for art and food and for experiencing the world, with you.  There are many people who would pass on this opportunity because of fear of a few difficult hours on a plane or a few missed naps, but I am so glad that we did not.  Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Ok, mama will step off her soapbox now!  Here are a few highlights from our trip!  The top photo is from the entrance to our hotel in Lausanne.  The Swiss are big fans of their flag, even if the World Cup isn’t happening at the time.  😉

On our first full day in Lausanne, we went down to the waterfront, played on a playground, and then took a boat cruise in Lake Geneva to a castle (Chillon).

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Avery, it was really amazing to see how interested you were in learning about the castle, history and art.  You sat and watched various videos on this computer that showed what the place was like when people still lived in the castle.  I was so impressed during our trip about how much I could discuss art with you, how you were willing to pay attention to such things.  I know that you love learning and love stories, but I didn’t expect to be able to share these sorts of things with you just yet and I was so pleasantly surprised.  Alexa, you weren’t quite ready for the history lessons, but you loved exploring and kept searching, room to room, hoping to find the princesses, which were surely around the next corner.

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This image below is of another of the boat cruises traveling back from Chillon toward Lausanne.  It was incredibly beautiful, and we were so lucky to have such gorgeous weather.

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That evening, we had dinner with our friends Katie and Alexis, and you met their daughter Olivia.  You were SO excited to play with her – you love babies – it was incredibly sweet.  The next morning we left Lausanne and drove into the “pre-Alps” and the region of Fribourg.  We visited the Cailler chocolate factory in Gruyere, where you were able to taste many, many types of chocolate.  Then we played outside for a bit to run off that sugar energy.

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Next we went to the town near the Chateau de Grueyers, where we explored a bit, took in the views and, of course, had an ice cream break.

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You two were really interested in the cows, all of which had large bells so that you could hear them coming from quite far away.  Avery, you really wanted to pet a cow, even though these were kind of dirty, with dung on them and flies all around.  KAC_2014_06_27_0331

For dinner, we met up with Katie, Alexis and Olivia and climbed up this gorgeous mountain, complete with views all the way to Lake Geneva, and plenty of cute cows.  We ate in a restaurant in a little mountaintop building – one of the more memorable meals of my life – where we had more cheese fondue (your dad and I ate fondue all 4 days that we were in Switzerland and, yes, it was totally worth it, you guys don’t know what you are missing!).  The views were just ridiculous!

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On the way down, we found some more cows – cleaner looking ones – and you tried to get a chance to pet one, though it didn’t quite work out.KAC_2014_06_27_0384

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That night we went to Alexis’s family’s chateau in the Alps.  Stunning!  You had fun running around the yard and playing in the wildflowers.  I really didn’t take enough pictures….KAC_2014_06_28_0418

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Then we went to the Grand Dixence Dam and hiked around.  We were over 2000 meters and there was still snow on the ground!  It is a beautiful place, and a little terrifying, and you had a lot of fun exploring.  That evening we stayed home, ate dinner and stayed up chatting with our dear friends.  It was a perfect last night in Switzerland.  KAC_2014_06_28_0494

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You two are amazing little explorers and we cannot wait to take on more of the world with you!  Keep having adventures, always.

love,
Mama

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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