Dear Lila: you’re ten!

Lila,

You’ve been ten for four months now, and I must say, you’re the coolest ten-year-old I know. You are bright, curious, silly, tenacious, and loyal. You are wise beyond your years and continue to amaze me with your confidence and sense of self.

This year you’ve gotten into your sports and have played on two travel softball teams, three basketball teams, and tried out volleyball. You are an exceptional natural athlete who excels at everything you try. It has been so much fun being on this journey with you.

Your main love is softball, specifically pitching. This fall you decided you wanted to go “all in” on pitching, so we got you a fantastic pitching coach and you were lucky to make a great travel team with supportive, knowledgeable coaches. The progress you’ve made in five months has been astounding. You went from 36 mph to 47 mph, added a changeup, and increased your accuracy. My favorite part of this process though has been the many hours we’ve spent together practicing, with me as your catcher. I can’t wait to watch you dominate this summer!

Your ability to set goals, visualize what you want, work hard, and keep a positive mindset about setbacks, is going to bring you so much success in life. You set big goals for yourself, like playing softball in college, and I 1,000% think you can achieve each and every one. Keep believing in yourself, because your dad and I do!

You have entered the tricky middle school ages when social pressure can mount around things like popularity, who has a phone, and what brand clothes you’re wearing etc. So far you have stayed true to yourself and tell me “I don’t follow trends, mom. I set them!” It was evident that you don’t care about outside opinions when you dressed up as a giant 8 ft chicken for Halloween. lol!

We’ve talked a lot about how you can surround yourself with friends who help your light shine or friends who try to dim your light. I am proud of you for knowing yourself, standing up for yourself & others, and staying your kind, respectful self. You set a wonderful example for your brothers.

This year for your 10th birthday, we are taking you on a solo trip with just mom & dad. We plan to do this with all our kids to help connect and stay close before middle and junior high. In just three weeks we are going on a cruise to the Bahamas. We have a lot of fun things planned like swimming with pigs, snorkeling, and going to a water park. I can’t wait to spend a lot of uninterrupted time with you in the sun.

I love how close we are. You know that I will always be honest with you while being your biggest fan on earth. Sometimes I struggle with walking the line between pushing you to be your best, while supporting you where you are. Thankfully you seem to understand that your Dad and I are always in your corner. I hope you know that I think you’re an amazing kid.

Since the moment you were born, you have been my dream come true as a mother. I always wanted to have a daughter, and you are everything and MORE than I ever dreamed about. Being your mom has been the best experience of my life.

I love you sweet girl!

Mom

Dear Lila: You’re Nine!

Lila,

You turned the big nine about a month ago. We celebrated with your annual balloons, flowers, presents and donuts for breakfast. Then we had a joint birthday party with your friend Bubba at the gymnastics center. Your classmates had so much fun celebrating you two and you got about a mountain of presents.

This year was another great one for you. You are doing awesome across the board in school, sports, your friends etc. This year you won the Cross Country championships again, made the 10U travel softball team and are playing in two basketball leagues. I love watching and coaching your sports! You also made it into the gifted program at school and continue to challenge yourself across the board.

I am in awe of your confidence as a young girl. I was always a bit awkward and very self conscious at your age, so it is so cool to watch you be so confident. At a cross country meet, a boy in your class was razzing you saying you were going to lose, and instead of getting your feelings hurt, you razzed him right back with a good comeback. The whole thing ended with you both laughing. This confidence will serve you well as you grow up and take on the challenges of middle school and junior high.

You are at such an interesting age where you’re kind of between being a little kid and being a tween. On one end you want to do more grown up things like go to bed later, walk to your friends houses on your own and pick out all your own clothes, yet on the other end you still want us to do your bedtime routine and set up the Christmas elves each night (even though you don’t believe any more).

Growing up isn’t always an easy thing. I still remember crying in my bed as a girl about your age because I was sad about getting older. I can tell you’re in a bit of that emotional stage right now too. Dad and I are trying our best to give you some freedom while also honoring your desire to still be a “little kid” when it pops up.

One of my favorite times with you in before bed when we sit and talk together. You tell me all about school, your friends and confide in me your worries. I feel so lucky that you feel comfortable talking to me about your life. You actually paid me the best compliment ever recently when you said “mom, I love talking to you. You should be a therapist!”

It’s very important to me that you know that I always have your back, I’m always on your side and nothing you could do would make me stop loving you. My goal is for our relationship to stay close as you grow up so you feel comfortable sharing your thoughts and feelings with me, knowing I am here to support you.

You are an amazing kid who makes me incredibly proud. You are wise beyond your years, truly. Thank you for being a great leader among your siblings and for giving Daddy and I grace as we figure out this parenting job with you first.

Keep being you and show the world what a special person you are.

Love you sweet girl!

Mom

Dear Lila: You’re Eight Years Old!

Dear Lila,

Today you turn eight years old! We started your morning with the usual donuts, balloons, flowers and presents. I love showering you with attention on your special day, because you absolutely deserve it!

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It feels a little weird that you’re turning eight, because on one end I feel like you were just my little baby. I can actually feel your little hand in mine as we took on all our daily adventures to story time, play dates, the zoo and coffee shops. It was just you and me most days and it was so awesome.

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But then on the other hand you seem so much older than eight. You have a quiet maturity beyond your years. Sometimes when we’re laying in bed before I say goodnight, you tell me about your day, your friends, whats happening in school and I feel like I’m talking to a young woman, not a little kid.

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You’ve shifted away from princesses and dress up towards pop singers and begging me to wear some makeup. While I am not too keen on you growing up too fast, I am enjoying watching the amazing person you’re becoming. I tell my friends all the time that you really are such a wonderful kid. When I feel like I’m failing as a parent, I remind myself how great you are, so I must be doing something right, right??

Screen Shot 2020-11-16 at 1.38.05 PMThis year you’ve really come into your own. You are so confident that it blows my mind sometimes. When I was your age I often tried to do anything to just fit in – even hiding parts of myself to appease others – but you are unabashedly yourself. This is probably why people are so drawn to you!

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Just like when you were a toddler and would ask me daily to “go bye bye sumpin,” you still like being active and busy. This year you did cross country again and got first place at championships against girls a year older than you. It was so exciting! Other sports you’ve done this year include swimming, tennis, golf, basketball and yoga. You also still love art, drawing, singing and you’re just starting piano lessons. On the rare days we don’t have anything planned, you usually beg to have a friend over to play. You do NOT like just sitting around.

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Despite having a lot of friends, you still love spending time with your family the most. You have developed an especially close bond with Alden. And he adores you right back. You love to hold him, play with him and try to get him to giggle. You’re also still very close with your cousins Mabel and Reagan. I’m so thankful for technology that has allowed you girls to play games together despite covid and living so far apart.

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You are incredibly smart and have an insatiable appetite for reading. Daddy can’t keep library books coming fast enough for you and we often have to tell you to turn the lights off or you’d read well into the night. In fact┬álast year you read the most minutes during a school competition – 33 hours in one weeks! You definitely got your memory from your Daddy as you already smoke me in matching games. I love that you love school, learning and expressing your creativity. I often find you writing stories, plays or poems in your free time.

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I love how sensitive and open you are with your feelings. Almost every day you tell Daddy and I how much you love and appreciate us. You always express your genuine appreciation for the things we do for you,┬álike take you shopping or have your friends over. Little things many kids take for granted, you recognize and know how lucky you are. Any time you feel angry, upset or sad, you are able to work through your tough emotions and apologize on your own later. Like I said, you’re mature beyond your years!

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These birthday letters are always bittersweet because I know you’re growing up and eventually will set out on your own. Any time I start to get sad though I remind myself how lucky I am that I got to spend literally every day of your life with you. I haven’t missed a thing and it’s been the BEST experience of my life watching you grow up.

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I hope you know how special you are to me and Daddy. We are so proud of you kiddo!!!

Love always,

Mommy

 

 

 

Giveaway: Get $100 a Watermelon Session with Brittany Ann Photography

Summer is in full swing here in Ohio! Our kids have been enjoying getting outside, going to the pool and playing tennis. Even though this summer looks different than years past due to COVID, we are making the most of the beautiful weather.

One thing I wanted to do was capture the kids in a photo session, so when Brittany from Brittany Ann Photography offered to do a watermelon mini session I jumped at the chance. The photos turned out so adorable and the kids had a blast!

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Brittany does such a fantastic job of capturing the kids personalities. She’s so good with the kids that I honestly didn’t do a thing for this shoot! And can we also talk about how Lila looks 16!?

Brittany Ann Photography is offering one of my readers $50 off their Watermelon mini session (normally $175) PLUS $50 in print credits! The session must be booked by end of August.

To enter, follow @brittanyannphotos on Instagram and comment below with your kids favorite summer fruit. I’ll pick a winner on July 3rd!