Letters to Our Children

Letters to Our Children | DECEMBER

As you get older, you will see that mama does not sweat a lot of the details: mismatch socks, letting Baba dress you guys stripes on stripes, and dinners that are Chinese, Mexican, and Mediterranean all at the same time. But my babies, sometimes...sometimes it actually IS all about the details and the small things. I am terrified of forgetting our experiences together, especially the tiny subtle things about each of you.  What if I forget what our home looked like and felt like? Evie's bear bear, Boris abandoned in the sun room, heaps and piles of toys thrown all around - the most ordinary, most constant details of our lives that seem to be the least photographed and appreciated. These are the tidbits, the mess that makes me crazy on a daily basis but are the exact things that remind me how thankful I am that this is our constant because you two, my most precious babes, are with me. 

Kids - we had a wonderful Christmas at home. We picked up our perfectly shaped Christmas tree with your Aunt Jen just two weeks ago. It took us a while to get it up and decorated and it was a bit of a mess since we could only hang ornaments on the top half of the tree. Max hasn't quite learned the 2-finger ornament touch rule, instead choosing to tippy toe and yanking ornaments and lights off, so now our tree really matches our family's messy, low key style.

Evie - without having talked about Santa with you, you somehow knew everything there was to know about Santa Claus and his reindeers. For Christmas, you asked Santa for water, juice, milk, a peppa pig cup, candy, strawberries, and blueberries. You were excited that you got the peppa pig cup but told me that he must not have gotten your note (which was hand drawn btw) because he forgot your milk. You and Max both loved the giant Peppa Pig doll that Nonnie got you and you have been such a wonderful sister sharing as much as you can. E, you keep getting wittier and funnier and it seems overnight you've become such a big girl. How did that happen? You are a sensitive girl who seem to really love one on one time with us and your teachers at school.  Sometimes it is hard for Mama to relate to you because I am not the most sensitive person on earth but I'm trying! The two weeks after our vacation was rough on you - there was a lot of crying at home and at school and it was challenging to deal with. You said that you just want to be home with us and I understand. I wish we could just hang out all day and not go to work/school too, trust me!

Max - you are a riot and you are so funny. You LOVE cars, making silly faces, dancing and listening to music. We love watching you dance...gosh, I hope I never forget the way you bend your legs to the beats, it might be one of the cutest things I will ever see. As exhausting and aggravating it is nursing and co-sleeping with you at this age, after venting and consuming caffeine, I would not give up all the snuggles and the giggles we share while singing Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star. You certainly can make your Baba and I crazy these days throwing food on the floor, breaking plates(!), and hitting! You're also giving your sister a run for her money, often standing your ground when she takes your favorite toys and sometimes being a giant butt taking her things and pulling her hair. We are definitely all learning to work together! I love that you are such an open book (like your mama!), straightforward, and uninhibited. Stay that way, my boy.

This year flew by so quickly. It is weird to think that Max was crawling this time last year and he is now running around kicking a soccer ball. It also hurts my heart a little to watch my little chubby toddler transform into a tall little girl. Gosh guys, I feel so so so fortunate that this is what we have together. I will never take it for granted.

I love you, my little bears.

-Mama

Ready for memories like this with your family? Contact me to book a session near Ventura, CA!

Po Chi Fung is a Ventura County Lifestyle Family and Newborn Photographer, also serving Ojai, Santa Barbara, Santa Monica, Thousand Oaks, Oxnard, and other surrounding areas. She captures real-life moments with a documentary approach on film to tell your family's story. 

Letters to Our Children | November

Your baba told you that that is a "river stirrer."

Your baba told you that that is a "river stirrer."

Dear Children: 

I am typing this blog lying in bed because someone is having major bouts of separation anxiety. You (Max) just woke not long ago sobbing and screaming devastatingly "mama mama maaaamaaaaasaaaaa." That was one thing I dreaded knowing that you are using more and more words...it's kind of heartbreaking. Not wanting to have that happen again but not wanting to miss my deadline, I decided to be techy and download the blog app. See kids, always be a solution seeker!

Alright guys. This week's sole focus is to recover from jetlag after returning from Taiwan and Hong Kong Saturday evening. We are all waking at 2 or 3 am and you and M are completely overtired by dinner time. The trip to Taipei, Hualien, and Hong Kong was worth it though! Esp when you guys met my grandma - I will be forever grateful that we got to spend this time with her. Though I am not going to lie that it stressed me out A LOT that you guys rode in cars and buses and vans without car seats and seat belts. 

E - you said that Hong Kong is your favorite because of juice. Juice means this juice booth about two blocks from our airbnb that makes fresh juice. I was surprised at your willingness to learn and speak some Chinese, especially strangers. Your dad and I were also so proud at how much more willing you were to engage others and were really surprised that you seemed to be less shy in Asia. You would pay for things yourself..going up to cashiers and saying "xie xie" in Taiwan or "hm goy" in Hong Kong. You told me that you want to go to Chinese school, so I definitely want to make that happen! Notable memory from this trip: you got your hand stuck in between two glass sliding doors at a bakery in Taipei. You stuck your hand in and then got caught when M triggered the automatic doors. The rescue was quite dramatic and the bakery lady wasn't too thrilled. 

M - You were a handful. It was rough battling separation anxiety and losing your mind because we won't let you do everything that you want to do...like roaming the crazy busy streets of Asia or stomping around on the subway and MTRs. I can't blame you though...age wise, it is rough traveling as a 1.5 year old. You threw so many tantrums that I lost count. But I won't forget the tantrums you threw face down in very dirty public spaces and then picked up a mild case of impetigo. We have photographs to remind you once you are older. 

Can't wait to get our film scans back on this vacation and to relive our travel adventures with you two.

Mama is too jet lagged and tired to write more right now..GOOD NIGHT.

Love,

Mama

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Ready for memories like this with your family? Contact me to book a session near Ventura, CA!

Po Chi Fung is a Ventura County Lifestyle Family and Newborn Photographer, also serving Ojai, Santa Barbara, Santa Monica, Thousand Oaks, Oxnard, and other surrounding areas. She captures real-life moments with a documentary approach on film to tell your family's story. 

Letters to our Children | October

Dear Children,

Hi my sweet sweet babies. Mama recently found out that one of her childhood friend lost his baby boy. The thought of someone I care so much about not being able to hold his sweet sweet baby ever again made my heart break and ache so so much.  That night I held you both a little longer, kissed you more times, and took in your sweet scents post-bath a few breaths more. I told you both that we are so so lucky to have one another, for you to have your dad and I, and for us to have you both in our lives because not everyone is so lucky. We need to appreciate it as much as we can. I know that in our life time, we aren't always going to see eye to eye..but can we please always try our best to communicate..and even when we aren't getting through to one another, please still always remember that we are there for each other, that we are a team and we've got each others' backs? And maybe then we would be a little kinder to one another and never say things we regret even when we are angry. I promise I will try my best to do that and never make you doubt how immensely happy and grateful that I am your mama. Promise. 

Max - this morning Baba wore his cockroach costume and biked you to daycare while you wore Evie's old dinosaur costume. Fun, right?! You've become the life of the party, especially our dance parties at home while we blast the Young MC Pandora station.  You have this eagle dance move where you reach your arms behind you and you twist and jump. You are completely fearless, super social, and just love to play and participate.  Your Baba and I were both amazed at how well you were participating in all the games at Evie's friend's 4th birthday party this past weekend. You follow direction extremely well and obviously pay a lot of attention to what is happening around you in an effortless way. You'd run and line up against the wall like all the big kids and were completely unfazed by all the older kids and activities.  You've also been saying lots of words. This morning, Evie taught you how to say TWO. You've also been saying ello (hello), nana (banana), gup (cup), baba, emma. You also excel in copying our expressions and making faces. Your sister and you are constantly feeding off of each other, shouting, hollering, dancing, and competing for attention! 

Evie - where do I begin? So many things to note because I don't want to forget a single thing. You apparently sleep talk...your dad heard you say "mmmm...coconuttttttt...yummm" in the middle of the night. You recently had an interesting exchange with your classmate about body parts, clarifying to him that you don't have a "gina" but a "vagina" and a booty butt. Since then, you've come up with a hot new single called "get your own booty butt." On top of all this, you committed your first real crime (which we won't talk about further here) but thankfully, your father handled it with flying colors, managed mama at the same time, and made it a good learning moment. You continue to throw some crazy tantrums, including an episode where you sobbed giant tears because  you bit your own finger one night on purpose. Between those chaotic moments, you are incredibly sweet, witty, funny, and loving.  

I love you both and I can't wait for upcoming Asia trip together! 

Love,

Mama

P.S. We just got home from trick-o-treating. Your dad and I are exhausted! E - you did great! Your bucket is full of candy and you and your friend took turns knocking on the door! M - you were unstoppable! Who knew a not-even 18 month old could collect that much candy. You refused to be left behind by your sister and you demanded candy from every house by shouting and squealing. We couldn't believe how much you ran!!! Nice job, babes.

P.P.S. I realized that majority of photographs in this post have motion blur...and while I would never deliver galleries full of blurry images..I can't help but wonder that one day when I am old and frail..and I close my eyes to think about my fondest memories, will it pop up just like this? I kind want to think yes and that kind of makes me want to cry happy tears.

 

Ready for memories like this with your family? Contact me to book a session near Ventura, CA!

Po Chi Fung is a Ventura County Lifestyle Family and Newborn Photographer, also serving Ojai, Santa Barbara, Santa Monica, Thousand Oaks, Oxnard, and other surrounding areas. She captures real-life moments with a documentary approach on film to tell your family's story. 

Letters to our Children | September // Ventura Family Photographer

Hello my children,

I am enjoying this change of season and really, the change of pace! We are finally home for some weekends before we take our long vacation in Asia, yippeeeeee! We had the best time in Vermont for your Aunt Ruth's wedding, spending most of our time paddle boarding, canoeing, kayaking, and swimming. It was SO SO great to spend that time with you and being present and not rushing every second of the day. That weekend really made your baba and I think about the life we want. Gosh peeps, this summer was a great one..and now we get to look forward to the cool, breezy weather, sweaters, Halloween, and pumpkin chocolate muffins :)

Alright, since I always start with Evie, out of fairness, I'll start with Max this time.

My dearest Max - Oh little babe, you're not so little anymore! You're running, doing naughty things and even instigating couch jumping with your sister. You love to say "cheers" and cheer us with your cup, chicken drumsticks, blueberries, and anything else in your hand. You are so sweet, you give the warmest hugs, and you have the best giggles. You are friendly and social..and oh my gosh, I think an extrovert! You're not afraid to run into a group of new friends and just start playing. I love that about you.  You're also testing boundaries and I'm also starting to have to show you where these boundaries are. Your baba laughs at me every time I try to enforce rules with you because he knows how badly I want to cave. I'm going to admit that if he wasn't watching, I might have bend a few of them for you but it wouldn't be fair to your big sister, so I am trying my best. Currently, you are practicing using your spoon rather obsessively and I am happy to report that you're doing a pretty good job. You love to dance and clap to music, and you love to be rowdy! You love Evie and you want to do all the things that she can do.  While we were at the lake, we realized you were crying in the water not because you were cold or wanted to get out, but because you wanted to jump into the water from the boat like Evie was doing! Also, the way you stare at her when she's practicing on her balance bike is a mixture of envy and desire.

Oh my dearest Evie - I am pretty sure I have said "gosh, 3 is hard!" 4000 times!!!! I know it is developmental but it is really hard to not react when you are yelling! Thank god I know how cool and wonderful you are.  But anyways, you are growing so fast that I can't believe it sometimes. You are speaking and articulating your thoughts so well. That other day, I heard you saying alphabets out loud and counting in Spanish. You're about to transition into the next classroom and you are so excited. It was so neat to see this renewed excitement for school and you wanting to be a big kid and do big kid things. You're becoming quite the story teller and you make pretty funny jokes. That other day you and I were talking about dinosaurs and I told you they were extinct. You kept saying "why do they stink!?" HAHA. You apparently also really love the word "booty-butt." This morning, you said, "mama, I am sorry I hit your booty-butt." Where did you learn that word, my love?  Also, I love that you ask about what I do. You were thrilled when I showed you my "homework," which was a couple pages of tracked changes on a document. You said that I did a good job, thanks! We are so glad you are ours and we are learning to work with you.  The biggest development since the last month is your skill on the balance bike. YOU ARE SO GOOD, like better than mama on the bike good, which doesn't say much but still! You started showing an interest a few weeks ago and asking to practice every day. You went from falling down a bunch to riding like a pro and doing trips up and down the street. We are so proud of you and I think you love that. But we try to remind you that you need to do things for you, not only to please us or make us proud. I hope you remember that throughout your life.  That other day, a few kids took interest in your bike. We thought you were making friends but instead, you left your bike with them and walked towards us with a giant pouty face.  It worries me that you didn't want to ask for your bike back nicely and you didn't do anything about it..but I also reminded myself that you're little still! I hope that once you're older, you'll know that sharing is great but asking for what is yours or deserve (in a nice way) also isn't a bad thing.  You'll figure it out your way, I know. 

Alright kids, love you guys to the moon and back. 

Love,
Mama

 

Po Chi Fung is a Ventura County Newborn and Family and Newborn Photographer, also serving Ojai, Santa Barbara, Santa Monica, Thousand Oaks, Oxnard, and other surrounding areas. She captures real-life moments with a documentary approach on film to tell your family's story. 

Letters to our Children | August

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Good job me not missing my deadline!

Dear Kids,

It's been an insanely busy summer! We've been out of town two weekends in a row in August and your baba and I are still trying to recover and get the house in order. It's all worth it though! We visited Addie and spent her 100th birthday with her and the rest of the gang. I wish so much that I could put in a time capsule all the feelings I felt when we visited Addie.  Addie lives in a really neat community for the elderly and when she walked you guys around in her rolling walker, everyone looked and had this glow on their faces. It was pure joy and happiness that I think they felt watching two energetic and hilarious young children running around...likely thinking about their own grandchildren and remembering what it was like to have babies and toddlers during their lifetimes. It made me so happy that you guys brought a smile to their faces and even laughter. I saw an elderly man belly laugh when Max was banging on the window and pulling on the curtain of the dining room that we were in. Addie loves you guys so much and I hope by writing this down that it'll help provide you with some memories of her even after you guys are old. She told everyone she walked by that you guys were her legacy, her inheritance. She's a marvelous lady, I've never met anyone like her. Evie - that is why your middle name is named after her. 

Then we were with your Nonnie, so that we could be there for the dedication of a High school stadium press box that has your grandpa's name across it! He dedicated his life to his community and his spirit lives on brightly in all those who knew him..especially in his jokes. You can ask baba which ones he stole from him!

My peepsy peeps..you've been crazy. Evie, you are getting better and better at negotiating and debating. You and Max have started fighting over toys and my lap space! It's mostly Max getting upset that you're in my lap at all and then tries to push you out of the way. Max, you are starting to say some words like no (while frantically shaking your head), cheers, baba, mama, and agua (your favorite and first real word). You guys stress me out sometimes (ok, a lot) but are also the brightest spots in my day. I wish all day that I had more time with the two of you. Evie, I also know that we need to have more time together. I know that it is unfair sometimes when I am short with you or don't spend enough time with you, especially when Max is ultra grumpy and requires all my time. The guilt eats me up...but I know it'll improve over time!! I love you both so much.  And speaking of love. Your baba and I celebrated our 4th wedding anniversary!!!  We are all so lucky that he's in our lives. Can you imagine how boring it would be without him?? Who would be your mud monster and who would throw you guys in the lake?

It is hard to imagine how far we've come in just 4 years but I know how lucky we are and how lucky I am to have him support me, listen to me vent about ridiculously stupid things, and be there to make sure I didn't get in trouble. HA. We recently spent some time at the Confluence Resort where we got married and wanted to do some contrast photos to show you how much our family has grown! Alright, enjoy the photos. Love you!

-MAMA

*All wedding photos by Kristi Odom.

Evie stole my move!

Evie stole my move!

 

*Po Chi Fung is a Washington DC and MD lifestyle and documentary family photographer serving Silver Spring, Takoma Park, Bethesda, Chevy Chase, Rockville, and Potomac

Letters to our Children | July

Dear Children, you are everything good in this world to me. And in light of all the tragedies that seem to be happening weekly..hell, daily, I've been hiding behind you, your infectious belly giggles, and sinking into your warm embrace even more whenever I need reassurance that this world is going to be okay. It is going to be okay because we love each other and because your dad and I, along with many good people we know, are doing our best to raise our children to be kind and loving, to ALL types of people, and to fight injustice.  The justice league is in your blood, so don't try to deny it, alright? :)

Evie - After our mama-daughter breakfast date to the donut shop and drop off at daycare, I had this inkling that I've never had before. An inkling that you will somehow be my rock..our family's rock.  What I currently see as ridiculous stubbornness and uncrushable relentlessness will transform into the bravest, strongest, and most stable person in our lives one day.  Somehow I just feel that in my gut.  In so many ways, that is already true.  You are also a sensitive soul and oh boy, SO COMPETITIVE. You want to be first in everything, just like your baba!  We are trying to teach you to be a team player and how to be a good winner and loser.  What fun and how lucky we are to have you in our lives, my amazing first born. I was sitting beside you at breakfast today and you asked me to move to the seat across from you because "you couldn't see me!" That made me the happiest human on earth. I can't wait to take you to your first movie at the theater on Saturday and have more fun mama-E time.

Max - In the last few weeks, you finally started eating and loving solids!!! Your baba and I couldn't believe it when you kept asking for food and asking for more cherries after you already ate a ton.  I thought someone switched my baby boy! You are hilarious, sweet, and loving. You and Evie are playing more and more together. There are some fighting over toys but you've actually been a really good sport. And so much giggling between you and your Ga Je.  You look up to her, especially when she is riding her bicycle. You run, you walk a lot, and you even walk down some steps like a big boy, and you've been going on the bike with your baba. He said you even giggled on the bike a few times today, it's a huge deal because you can be so stoic! Your first real word that you keep using is AGUA. Good for you, always hydrate my sweety sweet. 

This is such a fun time in our lives and I imagine that I will be thinking about this summer for the rest of my life.

I love you guys so much.

Mama

 

 

*Po Chi Fung is a Washington DC and MD lifestyle and documentary family photographer serving Silver Spring, Takoma Park, Bethesda, Chevy Chase, Rockville, and Potomac

Letters to our Children | June

Dear Children, you guys are hilarious and sometimes a bit insane...

Evie, you crack me up every day. That other day, when your Baba asked you why you didn't nap at school, you replied, "My eyes are dead, they were resting." I must admit that I said WTF out loud, laughed, and then made a mental note that we need to somehow incorporate those words in a song for your future rock n roll band.  You also called your father garbage recently and when we discussed this topic further, you looked me firmly in the eyes are said, "But some people ARE garbage, right Mama?" I'm like, "hmm. absolutely, but not your dad."  Then you went and asked the babysitter if she has boobies...and then whether or not there is milk inside...then you told her her stomach was big.  Oh gosh. 

I am not going to lie, Evie, the 3's have been difficult. There's been more "Stop what you are doing! Don't make me count to 3! It is dangerous! YOU NEED TO LISTEN" more than your dad and I had imagined. It seems to be this continuous test on boundaries throughout the whole day. We are learning to work with you as we go but take it easy on us every once in a while, alright?

Max, you are becoming a riot. It was somewhat shocking that my sweet sweet baby boy transformed into an opinionated and sometimes demanding little toddler.  You are coming into your own and the apple really doesn't fall far from the tree. You are stubborn and determined like your dad and I but in different ways than Evie.  You now protest if you don't get what you want or isn't given what you "asked" for.  You still enjoy reading and playing by yourself but you are becoming so much more interactive.  You loved the kitty cat dance party with your dad and your sister that other day. Watching you have a blast with your sister just makes my mama heart burst.

Life is so lively with the two of you. And I love it.

-Mama

 

 

Po Chi Fung is a Ventura County Lifestyle Family and Newborn Photographer, also serving Ojai, Santa Barbara, Santa Monica, Thousand Oaks, Oxnard, and other surrounding areas. She captures real-life moments with a documentary approach on film to tell your family's story. 

Letters to our children | May

Dear children,

Looking at these photographs from your "younger days" taken at the very beginning of my film photography journey and then looking at photographs from the most recent rolls I got developed, I can't help but reminisce. I reminisce about how little the both of you were. Max, you were still a small baby; Evie you still had some baby fat on you..a toddler, not yet a big girl. 

Max, you are running circles around me nowadays, your favorite activity seems to be un-tidying the toys and books the SECOND I tidy and stack. You are even throwing tantrums when you don't get what you want...mostly when I wouldn't let you drink water all throughout dinner. I guess I should have been prepared that you'd start to express your opinions loudly, but I wasn't ready my sweet boy.  You continue to be amazed by your Ga Je and laugh and babble and cheer whenever you know she is coming to hang out with you. 

Evie, you are my sassy, smart, and sweet girl.  Just that other day you asked if you could have a fruit as a snack after school. We said yes you can have fruit - pear, apple, banana. Then you proceeded to verify that pears, apples, and bananas were fruit. Then you asked, "is a juice box a fruit?" After I mumbled some answers, you asked, "can I have a juice box then?"  You are a smartie pants in my book and I think this will serve you well in all aspects of your life.  Though you are relentless and demanding with us, your Baba and I saw a different side of you this weekend at your classmate's birthday party.  We watched you wait your turn patiently and even watched how you did not complain or make a fuss when they forgot to give you a piece of cupcake that you had been so excitedly for.  I wished you spoke up but also know that you are learning how to be "on your own" and how to navigate the world in your own way.  Your Baba and I have so much to learn with regards to learning when we should be helping you navigate things and letting you do it on your own. 

Guys, you are my everything (well..your dad too of course). Someone once told me that having kids give you a chance to learn how to be a better person and I couldn't agree more.  I'm still learning how to take better care of myself and take better care of you guys. I am thankful for everything that we have. But I'm not going to lie that there aren't hard days when I feel completely overspent and stressed and proceed to lose my crap.  There will always be those kind of days I guess regardless of the circumstances we are dealt, but I hope that over time, you will see that even if I lose my shit that I could calm down quickly, compose myself, move on from all the negative emotions, and deal with things I need to deal with. And maybe one day, I'll be able to do all that without losing any control..because that's the kind of example I want to set for you.

I love you both more than I can ever say.

-Mama

 

 

*Po Chi Fung is a Washington DC and MD lifestyle and documentary family photographer serving Silver Spring, Takoma Park, Bethesda, Chevy Chase, Rockville, and Potomac