Monday, May 27, 2013

my neighbors are baby factories

Both of my neighbors are pregnant right now, due around the same time this summer. Both with baby boys. This coming weekend is the shower for one of them (Katie - photos to follow). But this past weekend I took maternity photos of my other neighbor and friend Chrissy.
Edwards Maternity

Her son, Ryan, is one of Charlie's friends. He is so cute.
Edwards Maternity
Her husband, Todd, is one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet.
Edwards Maternity

Chrissy is a lovely, lovely woman and I'm so glad she moved in next door.

Edwards Maternity

I'm excited for them to have two little boys running around soon. Congrats!

Edwards Maternity

Edwards Maternity

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

May 22

I woke up hoping this May 22 would be different than the past four May 22nd dates on the calendar but it wasn't. Today hurt. My whole body hurt. Because when your heart breaks, your whole self aches.

My Mom has been gone four years now. The same amount of time it took me to get through college. I thought maybe with four years behind me, her death would feel like less of a trauma and more of a part of my story. But that hasn't happened yet.

I don't hurt like this every day. But on May 22, like an annual gravitational pull, everything just feels heavier.

Tomorrow will be a fresh start. And maybe over the next year, all of this ache will weave into my story a little more and the calendar will pull me down a little less. I'm hopeful. I'm always hopeful.

a daughter who misses her Mom

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


Dear Kayle,

Babycakes - today you are thirteen years old. Thirteen years ago today, the world became a better place. Our family became luckier.

There are a few reasons I'm writing this birthday letter to you:
1. I want you to know how much I love you. You made me an Aunt and I am grateful.

2. I want to you to always remember your 13th birthday. It's one of many-to-come milestones that I want you to file away in your memory and pull them out later and smile. Some days you'll need them.

3. I want to share some wisdom with your 13 year old self that I wish I had known at 13. Here I go -

You are enough. Period. Good enough, pretty enough, smart enough. Cool enough. Loved enough. You are enough. Don't let your inner voice tell yourself anything different. You are more than enough for all of the people that matter, by the way. You are our light. 

(2 years old)
Kayle, 2002.

Kayle 2002 L.A.

Friends are in our lives for seasons. You will have some friends for a season of your life. And during that season, they will be so important and vital to you. They will be your everything. And during that season of your life, that friendship is true and rich and everything. But seasons end and so do most friendships. It's ok. It doesn't mean that friendship wasn't everything you felt it to be. It just means that season is done and something new is about to start for you. New is good.  

Kayle 2002 L.A. (2)

Boys and love. Just let yourself be heart sick boy crazy. It's ok. Real life will creep up on you as you get older and the butterflies and fixing your hair 18 times to look perfect will fade. Enjoy it now. Every second.  

(4 years old)
Kayle 2004 Seal Beach

The internet is forever. Don't put things up there that you don't want your 36 year old self to look at someday. Or your Papa. Or your Mom and Dad. Some things are better left un-photographed. (This wasn't an issue when I was 13 but I have to put this out there.)   

(5 years old)
Kayle, 2005. Not quite 5 years old.

Don't smoke cigarettes. (Again something that I didn't do but as you know, a struggle in our family.) Just don't do it. You will be tempted. It looks cool. Your friends will do it. It will relieve stress. Blah blah. Just don't, babycakes. Maybe try becoming addicted to coffee instead, eh?   

(6 years old. I think, not sure, could be 5?)
kayle 2005

Be as truthful as you possibly can stomach. It hurts to tell the truth. To yourself, to your parents, to your friends. It's hard. It's easier to please please please. To be the nice one. To always say what everyone else wants to hear. Take a deep breath and speak your truth. It gets easier every time. 

(8 years old)
Kayle Easter 2008

Have fun. I didn't have enough fun when I was your age. I was very focused on school and accomplishing "things". Do fun stuff. 

(9 years old)
Aunt Marci and Kayle, March 2009. Photo taken by Mom.

Kayle feeding Charlie. March 2009.



If there's someone in school that you know is picked on, isolated, bullied, alone . . . smile at them. Say hi to them. Sit by them at lunch. It will lower your cool factor. I get it. But you will change someone else's life in a way that is indescribable. 

(10 years old)
Traverse City and Great Wolf Lodge

Traverse City and Great Wolf Lodge

Cunningham Family Photos

Do not be afraid to ask for help, to ask questions or to say "I don't know". Really, it's ok. You don't have to know everything and you don't have to do it all by yourself. Asking does not equal weakness. Actually, you might want to tattoo this one on the palm of your hand. It's a big one. 

(11 years old)

Be patient with your Mom. Hug her every single day. She loves you like no one will ever love you and you will never love another human like you love her. You just don't know it yet. So start now with the ridiculous overtures of affection and cards and "I love yous". You will not regret it. 

(12 years old)
4 Shades of Grey

Kayle June 2012

Remember that I am your #1 fan. I am your Aunt, your Nana, your big Sister all in wrapped into one. I will never stop supporting every decision you make and every branch of your growth. I expect greatness out of you, Kayle. Not because I think you will work hard to "do" great things but because you have a great heart and walk through this world in the most generous, wonderful way. I love you, babycakes. Enjoy your special day. And don't forget to text me! 

Michigan trip_Cunningham_Dec 2012_12282012 (17)

Saturday, May 11, 2013

The Pledge of Allegiance of the United States

This, plus the entire Macklemore Thrift Shop song, are in Charlie's repertoire.

Things to note:

1. His scooby doo pajamas. I just wanted to point them out because I think they rock.
2. He will not let go of the iPad. It's like his lovey.
3. Alice screeching. Welcome to our evenings.
4. How Alice shoves him off the basket when he's done because damnit, it's her turn!

Or click here to watch the video.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Digital Playdate: April

digital playdate header

Sharing my friends' kids in one spot, once a month. View all past playdate posts here.

Month #4.

My high school friend, Kim's daughter. Maddie, 2 years old. 

"Waiting for Mimi to come"

Berki, April 2013

My childhood friend Lynn's daughters Abby, 5 years old and Ella, 8 years old.

"Getting ready for Ella's soccer game"

Buikema, April 2013

My post-college / pre-California friend, Crystal's sons. Jack, 4 years old (and starting kindergarten this fall!). Ryan, 3 years old. 

Ceo, April 2013

Her boys rock the Harlem Shake like no other - 

Or you can watch the video here.

My sister-in-law Misty's daughter, Kayle, 12 years old (on the right) with her friend Makayla. They just completed their 2nd Annual Jump into Freezing Cold Campbell Lake tradition. It's how they kick off summer. 
NOTE: This is the eve of her pre-teen experience. On May 21, she will turn 13.

Cunningham, April 2013

My college friend, Lesley's son Harper, 6 years old and daughter Isla, 3 years old.  

"Snuggling to keep warm on soccer morning"

Lesley, April 2013


My sister-in-law Robin's sons. Aidan, 5 years old. Will, 18 months old. 

"Cartoon and snack time."

Heeres, April 2013

My high school friend, Jen's (Kitchka) son Owen, 6 years old.

"The highlight of our spring break: Owen got his very own library card!"

Owen, April

My high school friend, Jen's (Lundgren) daughter Autumn, 7 months old.

Autumn, April 2013

My son, Charlie. 4 years old.

"Charlie's first soccer practice. Ever in his whole life."

first day of soccer

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

short shorts

She wears short shorts.

Alice, 17 months old

Alice, 17 months old

 She's so damn cute.

Alice, 17 months old

Alice Linda, 17 months old.