Lucy 10th Birthday

Ten-Years-Old

Each year I write a birthday letter to my kids on the blog…you can find Lucy’s previous letters here: nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, and one.

Lucy 10th Birthday

Dear Lucy,

Welp, we made it! DOUBLE DIGITS! Can you believe it?! I certainly can’t…but that’s a running theme in these birthday letters, isn’t it. My disbelief in time itself and your ability to grow minutes, days, months and years faster than I’d anticipated.

Lucy 10th Birthday

This year you’ve changed more than in the past few, and it wasn’t totally unexpected. You’re officially a “tween” now, and all the little kid-ness seems to be fading away. Luckily there are a few hold outs, like snuggling before bed and hugging me in public, but I’m sure they are on their way out. Our conversations are changing too. These days you ask me real questions, and I can’t fool you with whimsical answers. You want to know how the world works, why people suffer, why people disagree and why people hurt each other. I wish I could shield you from all of it, but I know by sharing the real stuff with you, I’m giving you the tools to change the world for the better. So we snuggle in bed and we talk about the world, in all of it’s ugliness. But we talk about the goodness too, and you latch on to those stories with hope and inspiration in your eyes. I can see the wheels turning and know that as you grow, you are going to spread joy in the world the way you spread joy in my life. We are so lucky to have you here!

Lucy 10th Birthday

This year you started asking me questions about growing up that I wasn’t particularly ready for. You wanted to know what was happening to your body and how it will change in the next few years. You asked why your body seemed different than some of your friends. You took the dreaded introductory health class at school! Ahhhh! But instead of being all weirded out, you were fascinated! You immediately started talking about the science of the human body and how cool it is…it was pretty incredible to watch! You wanted to learn more and asked me to get you books so you could do some research on your own. I’m so excited to watch you learn, Lulu. Your brain is a magnificent thing.

Lucy 10th Birthday

I’m so proud of the friend you are, Lucy. You are kind to everyone, and are the first to step in to help when someone is hurting or left out. You make buddies everywhere we go, and to this day, you’ve never met a stranger. Your kindness is something I’m so grateful for…you make me want to be a better person and a warmer friend. Your extroverted nature can be challenging for your introverted mom, but I’m lucky I get to see the world through your eyes and experience new adventures because of you.

Lucy 10th Birthday

So far, you haven’t quite fell prey to the power of peer pressure…but I’m sure those days are coming too. For now, you’re still my sweet girl. You don’t try to be “cool,” you are just yourself. You love Harry Potter and cats. You dance in your room to music and spend your days drawing page after page in your journal. You still play pretend and get excited when you lose a tooth. You’re you, and you’re amazing.

Lucy 10th Birthday

Thanks for another beautiful year, my Lulu. You’re still my favorite light.

Love,
Mama

Kansas City Family Photographer

Around Here Lately

Kansas City Family Photographer

The last few weeks have been BEYOND insane around our home. Not only has my worked tripled in a few short weeks, but spring is always when the kids are busiest with activities and school events. We are booked every, single night until late May! It’s nuts. But I’m trying to remind myself that this is a short window of time and it will be over before we know it. And there is MUCH to be grateful for! My packed work schedule is such a good thing, and even though I’m stretched pretty thin, it’s with work I love to do, so that’s a huge boost!

Kansas City Family Photographer

A few weeks ago I finally made a huge leap for my business and upgraded my camera. One of my favorite things to do is take photos of my children and our lives. My family is what led me to photography in the first place, so I try to make an effort to still shoot photos of them, even when I’m doing a lot of paid photography work. Now that the weather is more like spring, we’ve had lots of opportunities to get outside, and it’s been really wonderful. We all need fresh air to make sure we don’t turn into grumpy monsters (myself included!). I’m looking forward to the coming summer days of light schedules and last minute plans!

Kansas City Family Photographer

April Fools 2016

Happy April Fools Day! I feel like this is another one of those holidays you either love, or you totally can’t stand. I fall into the “love” category, but I forgot it was April Fools until a bit late, so I threw together some last minute pranks for the kids. But the best part was that Lucy had been looking for prank ideas herself, and had planned the SAME PRANKS to play on Tate that I was going to play on her. Great minds think alike! We froze cereal overnight for a silly breakfast, put googly eyes on the fruit in our fruit bowl, and Lucy also made some “brownies” (ahem…brown, E’s) for her class at school.

April Fools Ideas for Kids

Hope you all have a prank-filled, fun April Fools Day!

ivivva kansas city sweat ride

ivivva Sweat Ride 2016

Raising a young girl these days is no picnic, you guys. I love my Lucy something fierce, but there are so many challenges, especially as we inch closer and closer to the preteen years. Actually, in my opinion, we are already there! My girl will be ten in a few short months, and we’ve begun the conversations about changes in her body and mind over the next few years. It’s honestly a scary time…I remember so many formative things that happened to me over the years between 4th and 8th grade, and I’m not sure how to navigate it all as a parent on the other side of the story.

That’s why I was so excited when ivivva contacted me and invited Lucy and I to participate in their 2016 Sweat Ride. ivivva is a company that is inspired by active girls. They design beautiful athletic wear and provide experiences that connect girls through movement. ivivva (which was created by lululemon) encourages girls to be adventurous, compassionate and brave, and promotes community support to help girls reach their goals.

The team from ivivva Kansas City took 70+ girls on a bus tour of several fitness locations around Kansas City. The girls started at Fusion Fitness in Mission Farms, where they took a 30 minute cardio class to get their blood pumping.

ivivva kansas city sweat ride

We then hopped on the bus, where the music was blasting and the girls had a ball. DJ James Barr from Raise the Barr provided some high energy tunes to get the girls excited, and the entire bus participated in a fun game of “Would You Rather…” I was so impressed with this giving group of young ladies. When asked “would you rather…be a famous athlete or cure cancer?” the overwhelming answer (which could probably be heard outside the bus due to the force with which it was pronounced!) was to cure cancer.

The girls then headed into Pure Barre in Overland Park, where they participated in a full body barre workout. Many of the young ladies were dancers, and definitely were in their element at this beautiful studio. The low impact strength and stretching exercises were a hit among the crowd.

ivivva kansas city sweat ride

The crew hopped back on the bus, and in between sharing their fun on social media, the girls chatted about their lives. There were soccer players, dancers, basketball stars, artists and gymnasts, all excited to be spending the morning with their friends. Ages ranged from 10 to 14, and the group was lively as we headed to the last stop.

At our final destination, Yoga Six, the girls were escorted into a hot yoga room, where the emphasis was on breath and relaxation. After a morning of workouts, the girls were pretty excited to stretch out! The hot yoga room also felt pretty fantastic compared to the 15 degree Kansas City day outside! After all the high energy fun and chatter on the bus, it was really awesome to see the girls dig into the yoga practice and just be themselves.

ivivva kansas city sweat ride

After yoga, we all sat in a circle and talked about setting goals for the new year. The ivivva team led the girls in a goal setting exercise, where they took a big goal and broke it down in to a manageable and measurable goal for the next few months. While some of the goals focused on athletics, like scoring more goals this season in soccer, others focused on life lessons, like working toward gaining more confidence or being there for friends. My Lucy, who started ice skating a few months ago and just loves it, decided to work toward passing her next ice skating levels by the end of this class session.

ivivva kansas city sweat ride

I was so inspired by this fun, active day with such a lovely group of young ladies. The best part was watching how the girls supported and lifted each other up, encouraging their old and new friends as they worked together. When you’re a young girl, learning how to be connected and raise your sisters up is a life skill that will not only benefit you, but the world around you as you grow up. I am so grateful I was able to be a witness to it!


This post was sponsored by ivivva, but all throughts and options are my own. ivivva sparks and connects a global community of brave, compassionate and adventurous girls – to get involved, support each other and impact the world around them in their own unique way. Learn more and sign up for future community events at ivivva.com! Group photo by Vanessa Calcara.

Christmas 2015

2015 Holiday Recap : The Quarantine Christmas

Well looky here…it’s the new year! I took a much-needed break from blogging over the holiday, and it turned out to be a pretty good choice. I wish I could say I unplugged completely, but I’m definitely not perfect and still sneaked in some work here and there. This holiday didn’t go exactly as planned, and I’m so grateful I have a flexible job where I can dedicate time to different outlets when needed. Over the holiday we had a bit of a quarantine situation going on…and it wasn’t pretty! We had (in no particular order) pink eye, the flu, a croup-type cough, an ear infection and head lice. Yep, it was a doozy! I was fairly lucky to be free of all of these ailments so that I could spend my time and energy helping my people heal, but of course today I woke up with a massive sinus issue, so I think my body has finally decided it’s my turn!

Christmas 2015

Due to all the illnesses floating around, we had a pretty low-key holiday. We were legitimately under a doctor-ordered quarantine until Christmas Day, and the kids were pretty bummed we had to cancel Christmas activities with our extended family. Luckily, by the 26th everyone was feeling much better (and we were no longer contagious) so we were able to celebrate a little late. And honestly, as much as it stinks being stuck at home, it was kind of nice snuggling in for a simple, quiet holiday. Though I wouldn’t wish the amount of laundry and cleaning that comes with head lice on ANYONE. Holy wow.

Christmas 2015

I made about a zillion baked treats over the break, planning to take them to Christmas celebrations with the family. Since we were unable to attend most of them, the kids and I ended up delivering bags of sugar cookies and tins of cinnamon rolls to our local fire stations and police stations, to thank them for working over the holiday. It wasn’t our original plan, but it turned out to be a great way to give back and make the best out of a crappy situation. Lucy even chased our trash collector down the street to deliver him a bag of cookies, which is absolutely one of my top 10 holiday memories!

The kids head back to school tomorrow and Wednesday, and I can’t wait to get back in to a regular routine. As per our silly family tradition, we keep our Christmas decorations up until Three Kings Day (just like when I was growing up) so we still have a few more days of twinkle lights ahead of us. And while I should probably be excited to put away Christmas until next year, I think a few more days of twinkle lights is probably the best medicine for a quarantined Christmas.

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