/Letters to My Children 2015/ August


Dear Emma,

Summer break with you sure flew by this year! Even though it's only 2 weeks, we always pack so much fun into that short time together. From the backyard to the creamery and many adventures in between, we spent our days being silly and carefree. I think my favorite day was when you and Jonah turned a simple art project into a full on body painting extravaganza. I hope I never forget the sound of your laughter as I hosed you off afterward. :)


As you head back to school this week, I want you to know how very proud of you I am. You have one of the kindest, most thoughtful hearts I've ever known, and that's no more apparent than in your love for Jonah. It's his first week at your school, and while you're very excited that he's finally in the same school as you, he's naturally having a lot of anxiety as he adjusts to new people and new routines. I can't even tell you how proud it made me to hear from his teacher that you went over to his room yesterday to help him feel better, and that his special treat after nap was to go see his big sister. It was your first day back, too, and you had every right to want to spend it playing with your friends. But instead you were there for your little brother when he needed you. That's a big job you took on, and you did it with the grace and generosity of someone well beyond your 4 years. They say our children are our greatest teachers, and you my girl make me certain that's true.




I'm joined in this letter writing project by some very talented photographers. I encourage you to head over to Melissa's blog to read her letter, then follow the links until you land back here!

/Letters to My Children 2015/ June

2015-06-24_0001 Dear Emma,

Happy 4th Birthday, my sweet girl. People have been assuming you're 5 for a while now, so it's about time you finally turned 4! That assumption mostly comes from the fact that you're so tall for your age (91st percentile!), but also from your independence and maturity. It's been awesome to watch you blossom into this sweet, thoughtful, silly, creative little girl over the past year. It's like we can see the older you taking shape right before our eyes.

2015-06-24_0002 2015-06-24_0003

Don't get me wrong - you still have your toddler moments! Those moments can serve as (sometimes much needed) reminders that you've only just turned 4... there's so much you're still figuring out. You're just starting to navigate the social world - discovering both the joys and challenges of friendships. You've been asking hard questions about love, death, and what things mean. Daddy and I aren't always ready to tackle these topics, but we always try to answer you with respect, empathy, and honesty.

2015-06-24_0004 2015-06-24_0005

For your birthday this year, it felt like we celebrated all week long! We kicked things off with a princess party at the Little Gym where you celebrated with all your school friends. From the games to the Disney tunes to the Rapunzel cupcakes, you had a blast. After that, we headed home where our family was waiting to keep the celebration going. Your favorite gifts were your princess dresses and a book of Disney bedtime stories.2015-06-24_0006 2015-06-24_0007

For your actual birthday, I took the day off of work so we could hang out. It started with you finally getting your big present from me and Daddy - a new dress up cart! We built it from scratch just for you, and I even spray painted knobs bright pink for you to hang your bracelets and necklaces. If someone had told me when you were a baby that 4 short years later I'd be immersed in all things princess I would have told them they were crazy. But what can I say? It makes you so happy, and I'm learning to embrace the fact that our house is permanently covered in glitter.


Before meeting up with Nana, we stopped at the Frederick Rescue Mission to drop off the Backpack Drive donations you collected at your birthday party. Daddy and I were so very proud of you for thinking of others on your big day. One of the things that makes you so unique and wonderful is how innately thoughtful you are. You are always thinking of others' needs and feelings, even if it's something small like sharing with Jonah or bringing me an ice pack if I stub my toe. Daddy and I are hoping to teach you different ways you can use that gift to help others, because the world so desperately needs more people like you. 2015-06-24_0008

After that, we met up with Nana at Build A Bear where you - of course - built an Elsa bear. It even sings "Let It Go" which Daddy and I are super thrilled about. ;) We capped off the day with a family dinner at your favorite restaurant, Cafe Bueno. All in all, a perfect day and a great way to kick off age 4. As much as you want to skip ahead to being 5 like your older friends, I know this year will be filled with wonderful discoveries, important lessons learned, and happy, carefree times with family and friends.



Please head over to Ally’s blog to read her letter, then continue around the circle until you land back here!

/Letters to My Children/ February 2015

2015-02-27_0001 Dear Emma,

I've been so drawn to taking portraits of you lately... You're growing into your personality more every day and I so love capturing all the many sides of you. You're oh so silly, and astoundingly smart, and most of all incredibly sweet and thoughtful. You're also emerging as a bit of an introvert, which isn't surprising since you hail from a looooong line of introverts. We're working on helping you be more social around people you don't know, but daddy and I are so proud of your maturity and independence. Even when you're in a new situation where you don't know the other kids, you happily find your own way.

2015-02-27_0003In school news, you've been making awesome progress with your moveable alphabet, and just this week started writing words! With no help from me, you sounded out and spelled "hat" all by yourself. You were so proud and excited. "Mama! I spelled a real word!!"  It's like it all clicked for you and after that you wanted to write every three letter word you know. Dad, cat, bat... You were on fire and it was truly awesome to watch. Not too shabby for three and a half. (Thanks, Montessori!)

2015-02-27_0005We love you so much, bubba, and are so proud to be your parents. 



2015-02-27_0007Please head over to my very sweet friend Ally’s blog to read her letter, then continue around the circle until you land back here!

\Letters to My Children\ June

I’m continuing my “Letters” project this year with a new group of my very dearest photography friends. Each month I’ll write a letter to one of my babies.  This month it’s Emma’s turn… dearemma

This month we celebrated your 3rd birthday! It feels like just yesterday you were a fussy, wriggly little thing, and now you're THREE.


We kicked off your birthday festivities by skipping school and heading to the zoo with Nana. You were so excited to see all the animals, and despite it being ungodly hot out, you had a blast. You were so curious about all the animals and got such a thrill every time you found one hiding in its habitat. We ended the afternoon with ice cream (of course), and you were asleep in the car before we even turned onto Connecticut Avenue.

That night we met daddy at Cafe Bueno ("the quesadilla restaurant") so you could get your favorite dinner, followed by the homemade peach cupcakes you requested.

The Saturday after your birthday we had a small get together so close friends and family could celebrate your big day. It was a wee bit overwhelming for you to open all your presents, but worth it in the end when you opened your big present from me and daddy - your new dollhouse! It was actually my and Titi's dollhouse when we were little girls and I renovated it to make it a little less, well retro-tastic. I know you don't exactly have a taste preference when it comes to design (yet!) but I figured tan floral wallpaper and green shag carpeting weren't your thing.

Overall, it was a wonderful few days of celebrating our beloved little you, and Daddy and I are so excited to see what this coming year has in store for you - our sweet, silly, brilliant, thoughtful, fiercely independent, always-moving Emma.







I encourage you to head over to my lovely friend Lucy's blog (Philadelphia Family Photographer, Lucy Baber Photography) to read her letter to her children.

Emma: Age 2

Tomorrow is Emma's birthday, which means this is the last day of my baby girl being 2 years old. (Excuse me while I go sob in a corner.) I can't believe how much she's matured in the past year... she went from toddler to little girl, seemingly overnight. Here's a look back at some of my favorite photos of our sweet, hilarious, thoughtful, curious, beloved Emma as a two year old... 2014-06-17_0001 2014-06-17_0002 2014-06-17_0003 2014-06-17_0004 2014-06-17_0005 2014-06-17_0006 2014-06-17_0007 2014-06-17_0008 2014-06-17_0009 2014-06-17_0010 2014-06-17_0011 2014-06-17_0012 2014-06-17_0013 2014-06-17_0014 2014-06-17_0015 2014-06-17_0016 2014-06-17_0017 2014-06-17_0018 2014-06-17_0019 2014-06-17_0020

Letters to My Daughter: October

WelcomeJonah-15forMBB dearemma

Your brother arrived a couple of weeks ago and you, my sweet girl, are an AWESOME big sister. I was so worried about how you would react to him, and from the moment you saw him you have been head over heels in love with him. You've been incredibly sweet and gentle, and love playing mama's little helper when it comes to taking care of him.



I really didn't think it was possible to love you any more, but seeing you as a big sister has only solidified for me how insanely wonderful you are - and how lucky I am that I get to be your mama.


I am joined in this “Letters to our Children” blog circle by an amazing group of photographers and moms. Together, we’ll be writing these letters every month in honor of our love for our sons and daughters. I encourage you to head over to Bobbi-Jo’s blog to read her letter to her son.


Letters to My Daughter: September

2013-09-20_0001 dearemma

This is my last letter to you before you become a big sister. Your brother's arrival means big changes for all of us... joyful but tiring times for me and your dad, and maybe some frustrating times for you. You seem very excited to meet your baby brother, but we know it won't always be easy to have to share us with him. Your brother will need a lot of care and attention in the early months... he won't be able to be as independent as you for a while.


All I can do is promise you that we'll do everything we can to make sure you never doubt how very much we love you. You are so special to us, so uniquely you... and nothing will ever change that.


I am joined in this “Letters to our Children” blog circle by an amazing group of photographers and moms. Together, we’ll be writing these letters every month in honor of our love for our sons and daughters. I encourage you to head over to Kelly’s blog to read her letter to her son.


Letters to My Daughter: August

dearemma Oh my sweet girl... it's a time of BIG changes in your life and you are handling them all so gracefully. This week starts your first official week in Pre Primary, and despite our fears about new teachers and a new classroom, you've been nothing short of ecstatic for this new adventure.


And last weekend we moved all your old furniture into your brother's nursery and you got your very own big girl bed, which you LOVE. We were worried how you'd react to handing down your furniture, but you simply said, "That's for the baby. I'm a big girl." and that was that. You love sleeping in your new bed and haven't once attempted to leave your room when you were supposed to be sleeping. You haven't even tried to get out of bed! (Knock on wood.) :)


I worry about you a lot because I'm your mom and that's part of my job, but you are showing me every day that you really are a "big girl" now. This was more clear to me than ever when last weekend you saw these gigantic slides at a new park we visited and immediately wanted to go down the tallest one. It had to have been almost 2 stories high, but you marched right up those stairs and proclaimed "wheeeee" all the way down.

August172013-39 Your dad and I really are so proud of the big girl you're becoming, but if you still want to be my baby every now and then I'd be okay with that, too.


I am joined in this “Letters to our Children” blog circle by an amazing group of photographers and moms. Together, we’ll be writing these letters every month in honor of our love for our sons and daughters. I encourage you to head over to my dear friend Kristy’s blog to read her sweet letter to her daughter, Makenna.

Letters to My Daughter: June


My sweet girl, you are TWO! I would say "where did the time go?" but it's been a long year filled with lots of changes, so this milestone feels fitting. Most days you actually seem well beyond your two years...

It seems like every time we're out at the park or the pool, someone comments on how fearless you are... and to see you climb the playground equipment or how comfortable you are in the water, even I have to remind myself that you're only 2. Confident, curious, and brave, yet somehow (miraculously) not reckless, I find myself filled with such admiration for you. The enthusiasm you have for new adventures - be it a book, a park, or even just an art project or helping me in the kitchen - is so infectious, and the courage you display when you fall or things don't work out as you would have liked makes me so proud. If there's one thing my dad did for me that I hope to do for you, it's to make sure you know not just how much I love you, but how much I genuinely like you as a person. You really are the sweetest, funniest, smartest kid that I'm certain has ever existed, and I feel so crazy lucky that I get to be your mama.

Watching you grow and change into this amazing little girl has been such a privilege, and I'm so excited to see what this next year brings for you - especially as you figure out your new role as a big sister. I love you so very very much.


I am joined in this “Letters to our Children” blog circle by an amazing group of photographers and moms. Together, we’ll be writing these letters every month in honor of our love for our sons and daughters. I encourage you to head over to Christine’s blog to read her letter, and then continue on around the circle!

Happy 2nd Birthday, Emma!

Emmas2ndbirthdayOur sweet Emma is TWO! I can hardly believe it. I'm way more emotional than I thought I'd be about all this, and I have a ton of sappy mama stuff I want to say to her, but I'll save all that for this month's letter post in a couple of days. For now I'll just leave you with this look back... Emmasbdaytimeline

Lucky me. :)


It's official, our girl LOVES the outdoors. We were up at our friends' cabin in PA for the weekend, and it was all we could do to get Emma to come inside to eat. 2013-06-04_0016

She especially loved her new fishing pole. I figured she'd play with it for 5 minutes and give up when it inevitably wound up in a tangled mess, but I seriously underestimated her. She got it right away - dropping her line in the water then reeling it back in... over and over and over and over again. She must have done that for 45 minutes straight, which is like 5 hours in toddler time.


She also loved playing with her friend, Shane, and their cuteness was off the charts...


It's pretty much guaranteed that if you give Emma a big open space to play, she will run around like a mad woman until she tires out. She loves to say "Goodbye! Adios!!" then run away until we shout "come back!" and she runs at lighting speed back toward us saying "Hello! Hola!" Even better if there's a hill involved.


I knew we had an outdoorsy girl on our hands when not even the cold mucky pond water phased her...

2013-06-04_0020 2013-06-04_0021

She finally started to tucker out our last morning there...


...of course, that was until we stumbled upon this awesome roadside playground on the way home. :)


I'll be honest... being pregnant at the cabin in 90 degree heat is no picnic, but seeing how much fun our little girl was having made it all worth it, and I can't wait to get back there next month.

Emma's First Phillies Game

Sunday was a huge day for our little family... we finally took Emma to her first Phillies game! We were busting at the seams to tell her, but knew we had to wait until right before we left the house otherwise we'd enter the never-ending cycle of "yes we're still going, just not right now." We gave her the Phanatic stuffed animal we'd been hiding from her for the past 2 years like the mean toy-limiting parents we are, and she started catching on that this was really happening. She was so excited to go to the "ballpark!" and even more so when she found out that my mom, stepdad, sister and her family were going, too. We took the Metro downtown, which was another new adventure for Emma. She loved the "ding" sound the train made before the doors closed, and standing on the platform saying "hi train!" and "bye train!" I loved making a trip like that with extra people to carry the stroller and my ever-growing toddler. (Okay, okay, family is great for other things, too, but after doing it on our own for the first year, I'm still super grateful when we go somewhere and don't have to feel like pack mules.) :)


Once we were at the ballpark, she had more fun than you can really expect a 2 year old to have at a baseball game. She loved cheering "Go Phillies!" and tasting all the yummy (i.e. terrible for you) ballpark eats. She clutched her Phanatic stuffed animal the entire day, and even more so when the reality that she hadn't napped all day started to set in. We feared impending doom, but Emma was a trooper.

Our poor Phillies ended up losing to the Nats, but we still had a great time. It was a long trek home, but Emma finally passed out about 5 minutes from the house, woke up for dinner, then promptly passed out again. She still hasn't let the Phanatic out of her sight.


PS... I also got to have some fun with Jared's telephoto lens:


Letters to My Daughter: May

May182013-25-EditforMBB dearemma

This is my last letter to you as a 1 year old... a month from now you'll be 2, which is crazy to me because I feel like you've been 2 for a while now. I'm pretty sure you went from infant to toddler overnight, becoming the quintessential little miss independent. "Emma do it!" is something we hear multiple times a day, every day. And no more is this independence on display than when we're at the park...




Despite going to the park every weekend, it never fails to amaze me how fearless and adventurous you are. Our Emma... ready to take on the world.



I am joined in this “Letters to our Children” blog circle by an amazing group of photographers and moms. Together, we’ll be writing these letters every month in honor of our love for our sons and daughters. I encourage you to head over to Jessica’s blog to read her letter, and then continue on around the circle!


April062013-6-EditforMBB dearemma

My sweet girl... this photo is very emotional for me because it depicts a time of great transition in our journey as mother and child. After nearly 22 months of nursing, you are officially (finally) weaned. I honestly never intended to or thought I would nurse you this long. You just never lost interest, and once I didn't have to pump anymore it wasn't really much effort on my part to let you keep going. You would wake up and do your little sign and look up at me with those beautiful blue eyes saying "melk!"... a mother is pretty defenseless to that kind of cuteness. But a month or so ago you started showing small signs of indifference, so when I went away on a business trip we decided that would be it.

Even though I was as ready as I could be, it was still bittersweet once I knew I was nursing you for the last time. You were my baby. You were my first. We've been on this crazy journey together, learning together... and there were many moments during those early days when I wasn't sure I'd ever get the hang of nursing, much less be able to nurse you until you were almost 2. But we figured it out, and it ended up being one of the most rewarding and beautiful experiences of my life.

Our last nursing session came and went, and we moved on to a new phase in our relationship. One where I feel much more like the mother of a young girl than the mother of a baby. You still ask for milk almost every day, but you're perfectly fine with my saying "no." We replaced our pre-bed nursing time with rocking and singing in the chair in your room. (This photo was taken during one of those times.) We sing the same three songs every time: "Three Little Birds" by Bob Marley, "Golden Slumbers" by The Beatles, and "Murder in the City" by The Avett Brothers. Some nights you even sing along, which is pretty much the cutest thing I've ever heard in my life. Mostly I'm just glad that we still get our special time together. You're growing up so fast, and before I know it you'll outgrow wanting to be rocked before bed. So I'm treasuring what I can get.


I am joined in this “Letters to our Children” blog circle by an amazing group of photographers and moms. Together, we’ll be writing these letters every month in honor of our love for our sons and daughters. I encourage you to head over to Davina's blog to read her letter, and then continue on around the circle!

Letters to My Daughter: March

dearemma My sweet girl, you are going to be a big sister! You have been very excited about the baby, and I know you’re going to be an amazing sister. You’ll be almost 2 and a half by the time your brother or sister arrives, so it’s doubtful you’ll ever remember what life was like without him or her. And while I know that life will only get better for us with the addition of this new little person, I want you to know how much I’ve cherished our time together as just us. I know the majority of my excitement about this baby is because you’ve shown me how wonderful being a mama truly is…


From the first moments I held you in my arms, I was filled with a love I never new possible. Your dad may have taught be how to be loved, but you my girl taught me how to give love… how to love someone so much you think your heart might explode every time you lay your eyes on her… the heartbreak you feel when she’s hurting and you can’t make it better… the joy you feel when she rolls over, takes her first steps, when her signs turn into words.





IMG_0021-Edit-EditforBlogAs you’ve grown, the bond we share has only grown stronger. I feel like we’ve been on this great journey together… from pregnancy, to navigating those first chaotic newborn months, to all the milestones of your first year, and now seeing you develop into (it’s hard for me to even say it) a little girl. It’s been tough at times, figuring out this whole parenting thing, but mostly it’s been a pure joy… and truly the greatest honor of my life.



And now I’m on a new journey… a journey that takes me from being the mom of one to being the mom of two. But I promise my journey with you doesn’t stop because of that. I will love you both the same, but uniquely. You will still be my little boo boo. You will still be the one who taught me what it really means to be a mother, and what an absolute gift it is.


I am joined in this “Letters to our Children” blog circle by an amazing group of photographers and moms. Together, we’ll be writing these letters every month in honor of our love for our sons and daughters. I encourage you to head over to Carrie’s blog to read her letter, and then continue on around the circle!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Emma and Elmo have a tea party

I'm currently taking yet another amazing Clickin Mom's class called "Lifestyle Photography with Kids" and thought I'd share one of my first assignments. I've been wanting to take this class ever since I first joined CM, and I'm pinching myself that not only did I get into this sold out session, but I'm taking it with a bunch of my photographer friends from my very first intro class. The idea behind lifestyle photography is to tell the story of people as they are, as opposed to posing them in a contrived setting. It's similar to documentary photography, but you have the freedom to control your environment a bit by moving things into good light and removing distractions. This style of photography works particularly well for small children as it's nearly impossible to get them to do anything except whatever it is they want to be doing at that moment, anyway. :) For my first story telling assignment, I decided to throw a little tea party for Emma and her BFF, Elmo. Notice how my idea of this tea party was a kettle, two cups, and a sugar bowl. Emma quickly had other ideas...

March062013-2-EditforBlog March062013-9forBlog


Within about 2 minutes all the cups, a pan, utensils, a yogurt container, and a balance ball pump had joined in on the fun. We only bring out the balance ball pump for our fanciest tea parties. ;)


"Drink your damn tea, Elmo!" :)





Uh oh, I think she poisoned Elmo.

I have sooo much shooting to do this weekend for the next assignment, but I'm really looking forward to it... so many fun new techniques to try out! Also, if you haven't gotten on the CM bandwagon, I can't recommend their classes more highly. This is my 3rd workshop in 7 months, and I have another one starting at the end of April. I might be addicted. :)

Have a great weekend, everyone!!