letters to our children

"letters to our children" april edition

Time to write a letter to my least photographed child. He is the least photographed not by my choice. He really really really does not like for me to take pictures of him. In fact he runs the other way literally when he sees my camera. I often joke with him that someday he will be sad when he doesn't see himself in any of these pictures I am taking but I try to respect him. I do at least twice a year force him to let me take some of him. I have to have some kind of photographic record of him...hoping someday he'll let me take more? But I'm guessing it will probably get harder as he gets older...

To my oldest,

Oh my first born little man, where do I begin? I guess I can begin with the beginning? You were the first babe to come into my world. I was hesitant and scared to be responsible for a little human. I was scared for all the things I would have to give up to be a mom, all the freedoms I would no longer have. Sound a little selfish? I probably was but once you were in my arms all those fears went away. Yes, I gave up a lot. Life as I knew it was totally different. I've always been one of those people who needs a fair amount of alone time...quiet time to myself where I can think, have peace, and just be. Well that kind of time is hard to come by to a mom...and it was ok. You made it ok. I couldn't have imagined how much I could love a little baby..soooo much love for you. You were quite the hard baby. You cried and cried and cried and cried. In my first time mommy naivety, I thought "well that's just what baby's do. They cry....a lot." You tried my patience those first several months. It was hard. We both didn't sleep..and even with all the hard things, I couldn't imagine it any other way. You were my new world. My little man.

You have always been an intense little guy. You are so crazy passionate/obsessive about the things you love. It started with Buzz Light-year on your second birthday. I think it was love at first sight with you two. Something just clicked when you saw him. For two years our lives revolved around that Buzz toy. All the times you threw him to "infinity and beyond" onto our wood floors. I still can see the dents from that. And Buzz took quite the beating. Eventually he took on a new name..."headless Buzz without a hand". That's what you called him. All of your throwing broke off his head, hands, and eventually his leg. We bought you a new one but you still preferred "headless buzz". Then you loved "Cars" and Lighting McQueen with that same passion for a while. Then came the Star Wars phase, and then Harry Potter. You loved each phase with all your heart. That's what you do. You are kind of an all or nothing kid. Until I had other kids, I thought this is just what kids did. None of your siblings have had the passion that you have for what you are into. You put all of your heart and energy into the things you love. I have to admit, it can be a little exhausting to the rest of us. And it's hard for you when everyone around you doesn't share in what you are loving. It's actually a pretty cool thing to watch you be so passionate. I pray that you can continue to find things in your life that light this fire you have in you. I sometimes worry about this quality too. On the opposite side of this passion comes a little bit of detachment. There isn't a whole lot of middle ground with you. You are completely into something or completely disinterested which can be a bit of a problem at times. I know that you will go far in life if you can find a way to channel this excitement and passion in positive ways.

You now are 10 years old going on 16. I cannot believe how much you have grown up in the last year. This time last year you would still play with toys...Harry Potter was your obsession. Now you wouldn't be caught dead playing with toys..not even your precious, adored, and well love legos...they are now collecting dust. (Tear). Where has the time gone?  You live, sleep, eat, breath, and dream basketball. It makes me laugh because a little over a year ago when you Dad would watch games, you would get soooo bugged. You were not interested in the slightest. Now you come home from school and watch Sports Center. WHAT? Yes, and you never ending questions about sports trivia is enough to drive me up a wall. I have never been interested in sports...AT ALL! I can't sit through a game for the life of me. It's fun to see you and your Dad be able to do this together.

You are a kind hearted kid who has always (I noticed it when you were 4 or 5) had a special place in your heart for little kids. You can be very sarcastic and a little bit of a punk to your the second and third kids in the family but I don't know if I have EVER seen you be anything short of completely patient and kind with your baby sister. It melts my heart to watch how kind, sweet and helpful you are to her. You have always been this way. It is so very sweet.

You and I butt heads a little bit. I really hate this. I think we are a lot a like in some ways. You can be so stubborn sometimes it's crazy...but so can I. I know when you get this way or act out at all it's really a cry for attention. Sometimes I feel guilty. I have been having babies about every two years your whole life. Babies take a lot of my attention and energy. I feel like sometimes because  you are the oldest, you are the one whose needs get pushed to the side most often. I really try to not let this happen but it's just how it is sometimes. I hope you understand it's not because I love you any less...it's just that these little people can't do as much for themselves. I think you know that most of the time but I sometimes wonder and worry. You have to know that I love you. You will always be my first baby. I love seeing the person you are growing into although I sometimes miss the little guy who would sit in my lap and cuddle with me. I admire your crazy passion for the things that you love in life. It's very inspiring. I'm honored to be your mother. I sometimes wonder how I could possibly be so blessed.

I love you my little man, to infinity and beyond!

xo,

Mom

And now for images of my camera shy boy...totally random and in no particular order...

Up next is the talented Marla Cyree of Simply Splendid Images...be sure to follow the circle for some heartfelt letters and images from a wonderful group of mothers and awesome photographers...

"letters to our children" march edition

Oh my sweet girl.. Where do I begin? You have changed SO much in the last year or two. I feel like I am beginning to see glimpses of who you will be as a teenager and woman. Just last year, you were my little kindergartner and now...my almost second grader. WHAT? How did that happen? It makes me sad but it makes me excited too..and a little nervous for all the struggles that will soon come to you as they come to us all.

You are one creative little girl. I am amazed at what you can do with a piece of paper or a box of Kleenex. I'm talking 3D paper sculptures, purses, refrigerators that open and have paper food inside that you can take out and eat, 3D paper flower and vases, crayon holders, baby blankets, doll clothes, and the list goes on. Whenever there is a birthday in the family, we all know we will get a big 3D paper birthday cake topped with candles that is colored beautifully. All of these things are made with computer printer paper, crayons or watercolors, tape, and scissors. It's really pretty amazing to watch. You're creativity doesn't stop there. You can always think of something to do...you are NEVER bored. Not sure I have ever heard those words come out of your mouth. Should we talk about your "house"/messy messy pit in the playroom? Man, I must love you to let you leave that up for so long. You have spent hours building it. To most people it looks like a circle of castles, chairs covered in blankets, stacks of papers and books, and shopping carts with dolls, blankets, toys, and junk in the middle. To you it's your playhouse.  It's your sanctuary. It's the first place you go when you wake up in the morning. You are so proud to show your friends around in there. It's really pretty amazing when you describe to me every function every little pile has...the couch, the bed, the doll bed, the table. The "dressers and closets" are filled with every paper creation you have ever made....it's beginning to look a little like an episode of "Hoarders". It's been like that for almost a month and I don't have the heart to make you take it down. You get teary at the mention of it. What am I going to do with you?

You are outgoing yet shy at the same time. You have no problem making friends and you have quite a few of them. You are a natural leader (bordering on bossy at times)  I've watched you play dolls and house with your friends and tell them exactly what to say. The conversation goes a little like this:" "oh look, Sarah got at new outfit" Now you say "It's so cute"."

You DO NOT like to be the center of attention. In fact you really dislike it. This year I have watched you as you have had to go to several Reflections awards assemblies to be recognized and you DREAD it. In fact the principal at school wanted you to bring one of your awards to school to be recognized on "Falcon TV" (the elementary school channel) and you seriously did not want to go to school that day. It took a lot of pushing from me. Once you get in front of a crowd, you are fine but you insist that you are never entering Reflections again. It makes me smile. I love that you don't have to be or even want to be the center of attention...yet you have so many qualities that make you exactly that..the center of attention. (at least in my mommy goggle covered eyes)

You are FUNNY! The things that come out of your mouth sometimes make me laugh like no other. At bedtime when we make up bedtime stories, yours are always the wittiest and the most random. I love it.  You also have quite the stubborn streak. (you may or may not get that from me) I am often amazed and exasperated by how strong willed you can be. Again, I kind of love it. You know what you like...and that it that! :)

You have a tender, thoughtful heart but you are sometimes reluctant to show it. This has always intrigued me about you because you have been like this from day one. I wonder where this comes from. We are a pretty openly affectionate family who expresses how we feel about each other regularly but this doesn't come easy to you. You will write your feelings in a letter to me but it is harder to say it. You REALLY have a hard time saying sorry. Your brothers and sister will say it at the drop of a hat but you...well it's really hard for you. You are really such an interesting person. You have everything in the world going for you. You are beautiful, smart (OH SO SMART), witty, creative, independent...I mean what else is there?

You are a girly girl in some respects. You like purses, lip gloss, shoes, dresses, and earrings yet you are willing to get dirty and play rough. I love that about you!

I love our "girl time" together. When it's just you and I (and sometimes little sister),  you open up and talk to me about all kinds of things. I love how much you love to spend that time with me. Wish we had more of that. That time together gives me glimpses of what our time together will be when you are grown up.

What a sacred job I have being your Mom! I feel so very blessed to have you in my life!

love you love you love you,

Mom

Summer Murdock Photography

Be sure to go visit Marla Cyree of Simply Splendid Images has to say in her letter this month! Be sure to follow the whole circle for some serious inspirational letters and images...

"letters to our children" february edition

It's time for the second "Letters to our Children" post! I am SO grateful for this project. It forces me to write down all the little things about my children that I love and that I know i will soon forget. Pictures this month are from warmer days (last summer) that I have been meaning to blog for MONTHS (imagine that). This project is also helping to become a better blogger. YAY! Be sure to follow the circle (link at the end of this post)! Oh my little Wy-man,

How are you already 5? It seems like just yesterday I was toting you home from the hospital wondering  how I was going to do it all. But you made it easy. You have always been my tender-heart. Even at one year I old recognized what a sweet soul you are. There is just always been something about your amazing spirit that radiates kindness and joy and innocence. When I'm sad or not feeling well you are the first one to notice and the first one to tell me you love me and give me a hug. It melts my heart. And it's not just my mommy goggles that see this. I have had numerous people comment about how you "just have a kind look about you" and you do. It's other worldly almost and it's my very favorite thing about you. BUT there are SO many other amazing things about you . You are funny. When someone says your name I picture you laughing with the biggest most genuine smile. You especially think potty humor is hilarious and nothing makes you laugh harder than streaking across the house with nothing but your birthday suit.

You seem to really like to push people's buttons. You find it funny. I have watched you pester kids at the playground that are 2 times your size but always with a smile on your face. It's like you can sense who the serious and tense people are. Then you make it your goal to loosen them up. Sometimes it works and other times they just find you completely annoying but you don't seem to care. And when you can tell they have had enough you happily skip away with a smile on your face. It makes me smile but I worry it will get  you into trouble one day.

You are my cuddler...you cannot get enough hugs. I think every night before Dad puts you to bed you must give me at least 5 separate hugs in between every bedtime step...put on your jammies and you come hug me "goodnight Mommy", brush your teeth and you come running "goodnight Mommy",  get a drink of water and you come running "goodnight Mommy" and hug me.  Then it never fails after you are all tucked in you come back upstairs for one more hug. Sometimes when I'm tired, it wears me out and i think you are just stalling bedtime but when I'm in the moment and present I know it's more than that. You have so much love in that tiny little heart.  I could learn a thing or two from all that love you have.

You are quite adventurous and fun loving and almost always up to try anything. Maybe it's because you are child number 3 and are trying to keep up with the older two but sometimes you fearlessness scares me. I can hardly watch you at the playground. You are a little monkey swinging from the bars, hanging upside down, flipping, shimmying up poles and jumping down. I always want to tell you to stop but I hold myself back because you love it so much and you are SO proud of yourself after you do a trick. I can't bear to crush your excitement. So I try to turn my head and only stop you if I feel like you are REALLY going to hurt yourself. When we go to Disneyland there isn't a ride you won't go on. In fact last time you were so sad that you couldn't go on California Screamin and do the "loop te lou". I can still picture you skipping/dancing through the park humming with with excitement as we ran from one ride to the next.

You are obsessed with cars...all type...the cars characters from the movie and matchbox cars...you usually have a couple in your hands or pockets at all times. You can make a road of anything...a wall, a blanket..a windowsill. I'm sure our furniture has all kinds of scratches from all of your car driving.

Since you were a baby old enough to crawl, you have sat on my lap everyday while I blow dry my hair. I think you like the warmth of the blow dryer. You are starting to get too big to do it without getting hit by my brush and blow-dryer but you still try. Usually you just put your head in my lap now.  You have even convinced your younger sister that sitting in my lap while I do my hair is the coolest spot to be. She is starting to take your place there (the two of you often fight over it) but I will always remember those years with me, you, my brush, and the blow-dryer. I may sound a little sappy (and I am) but the thought of you on my lap while I blow dry my hair makes me feel all kinds of love.

You are the kind of kid who makes friends everywhere you go but you have s shy side too. When you get really excited about something you do the funniest, cutest thing that I noticed for the first time back in September when school started. I took you on our annual Mommy and son date and took you to lunch and to buy new school clothes and shoes. We go into your favorite shoe store and you picked out some awesome shark Vans. When the gal who worked there  brought them out and you put them on you smiled SO big it overtook your face.  When that happens you get so embarrassed that bow your cute little face and head and tuck your chin into your chest to hide all that joy. You do it every time you are really excited...trying to hide that big huge smile...it's like you know it's more joy than the rest of us feel!

Everyday when you come home from preschool, I know you are going to walk in with a gummy bear stuck on the top of your nose and big giant smile...it never fails. You lick the gummy bear Ms Molly gives you and  stick it right on the bridge of  your nose. On the days I'm not driving you have enough will power to make it all the way home without eating the candy just so you can show me for the 100th time that you have a gummy bear on your nose. sigh...I love you kiddo. I'm one blessed momma to have you in my life.

xo,

Mom

Summer Murdock Photography
Summer Murdock Photography

Now go visit Elaine Melko and see what kind of awesomeness she has in store....

and in case you missed last month's circle you can start it here!

"letters to our children" january edition

This is a project that has been in the making for several months now and one I have been looking forward to. But I have to admit that when Amy Grace approached me about it, I was a little intimidated.  I decided feeling out of my comfort zone is a good thing so I am joining a group of uber talented photographers in a project called "Letters to our Children". On the 15th of each month we will all write a letter to one of our kids along with pictures of course because isn't that what photographers do? The picture part is no problem for me but the writing...well it's not my strongest suit so writing this I feel like I am putting myself out there a little bit. It's a good thing though. I actually started writing letters to my first two kids every year on their birthdays. The plan was to give them each a book on their 18th birthday with the letters. Well after the third  baby came so did some chaos and so the letter writing got pushed to the side (very typical of me starting projects and not finishing) So here I am embarking upon this once again...better late than never right? Oh and don't forget to follow the circle by clicking on the link at the end of my post...

One more thing...please disregard any grammatical, spelling or punctuation errors...don't judge people...don't judge. hehe

Oh my dear Little One,

Where do I even begin with you? Two years ago you came into our crazy family as child number 4. I was a bit overwhelmed with it all but you were a breeze to take care of (thank goodness). You were the MOST adorable baby with a head full of hair. I remember how I felt in those quiet moments in the hospital as clear as if it were yesterday...that feeling of pure joy and overwhelming love. I would just sit there and hold you and hug you and smell you..yes smell you..oh that smell of a newborn baby is my favorite smell ever. We brought you home to our organized (well kind of) chaos and you fit right in. You were immediately surrounded by your brothers and sister and they smothered you with love and attention.

I can't believe two years has passed...on one hand it breaks my heart because there will be no more babies born in our family (if I have any say in the matter) and I love babies. I am absolutely in a different place with you than I was with the others. Because I know you are the last, I savor every stage just a little bit more and want to hang on to it just a little bit longer. On the other hand I am excited that time is passing because I LOVE the little girl you are becoming. Your personality fills our whole house. You are the most happy (when you aren't throwing fits) and expressive little girl. I have to admit you can be a little dramatic. Even the way you brush your hair (that is almost always messy) out of your sweet little face has to be accompanined by a funny little sigh and a slow dramatic sweep. It makes me smile every time.

You love to dance. I watch you in awe as you spin around the room to the point of diziness and then lay on the ground and kick up your legs..then get back up and do it again...humming as you go. You are SO independent for a two year old. You can go in the playroom and occupy yourself for longer than I think is normal for your age. When I peek in on you I see you and  playing with your dollies and talking to them...making them kiss. You are already VERY imaginative. You like to call me Clarabelle (yes the cow) and you take it very serious..."Clarabelle, I do you hair" and then we sit as you brush my hair and curl it with your pretend curling iron. If anyone calls me "Mom" you qucikly correct them and say "no you Clarabelle and I Rosa" Yes Rosa. You like me to call you Rosa. Not sure where this came from but it makes me laugh. And again if I slip up and call you Lola you are sure to correct me "NO, I Rosa Clarabelle." You are delightfully random (as a lot of two year olds are) You love to pretend you are sleeping and it's always in the funniest places...like outside in the grass or while in the bath. And while you fake sleep you make funniest fake snore. You are a bit of a free spirit and don't see the point in wearing anything but your diaper (unless it's a princess dress). It has been FREEZING here (like the temperature as I type is -7) and still..the minute you wake up you want your jammies off and it's a fight to get you to wear anything. When we go out you will not fight me but the minute we walk in the door you are back in your diaper. Then you walk around saying "I cold Mommy"

The last month or so the princess phase has kicked in. You will wear a princess dress for little spurts thoughout the day. And then you beg for "cinnnabella hair" which means a messy bun on top. Of course as soon as the dress comes off you insist on undoing your hair as well. I guess you like to be in full charater. I ususally have to only refer to you as the name of the princess whose dress you are wearing and boy do you know your princesses. And boy do you get mad if I call you the wrong one! :)

You've started to develop a little bit of a temper recently (i guess the terrible two have begun) It's hard to take your temper and dramatic grumpy faces too seriously because the scowl usually turns to a smile in no time.  Your cute little voice can often be heard singing something. Christmas carols are your favorite...in fact I have been singing "HO HO HO" (or Up on the Housetop) to you every night before bed for over a year now. You will not let me sing anything else at bedtime. I'm always shocked at how well you pick up lyrics to songs and hear you singing them (althought not always correctly. Yesterday you were singing your ABC's and you ended with "next time you can't sing with me". When I tried to correct you you just pointed at me and said "NO Clarabelle. You not sing it"  Every time we get  in the car, you beg for me to turn on "Ho Hey" by the Lumineers. That song was pretty much our summer anthem this past year. All the other kids in the family are SO sick of it now because of your constant request for "HEY" as you yell it and put your fist in the air (have I said yet that you make me smile?).

I cannot believe how blessed I am to have you as my daugther. You bring such joy into our home and are quicky becoming the family clown. We all smile and watch all the funny things you do. Most days I just want to stop time and make you stay two forever, (two might be my favorite age) but then I would miss out on the wonderfully, awesome, funny, creative, and independent girl that I know you are becoming…I love you my little one and couldn't be more grateful that I was blessed with such an AHHHMAZING daughter. And as you say to me every night as I am putting you in your crib...lubyousomuch...and I really really do!

Love,

Mom

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Hope you enjoyed seeing all the ups and downs of a two year old. (hehe) Now continue the circle and see what the wonderfully talented Carey Pace has to say to her daughter.

xoxo,

Summer