To My Beautiful Ava on her 9th Birthday

Today I woke up to your sweet kisses and warm hugs. As with most mornings, you came to snuggle me awake before school, shimmying your little body under the heavy covers to warm up next to me. As I blinked awake, your sweet smile filled my sleepy eyed view and you whispered that you wished we could just lie in bed together all day, with breaks for a snack and lunch of course. You exclaimed that we could just pull the covers over our head and we could just chat and laugh and read together all day. I will always cherish this morning ritual and can only hope that it will continue for as long as it can, but your childhood seems to be slipping away so quickly, as with every passing day, little flashes of your pre-teen persona begin to emerge and take the place of my little baby girl.

Crafting at the International Food Festival in Itaewon

Your 8th journey around the sun started with a trip to Los Angeles for Christmas with the family, which is so important to you. You cherish every moment that you have with your family, knowing that our time together is often short. You also have a true love for all things Christmas and you were ready to start decorating and playing Christmas songs before the Summer was even over.

Presenting to the Elementary as a Student Counsel Member

Winter found you hitting the slopes and you took part in an International Ski festival, where you were challenged by the giant slalom, but even though you are still a novice skier you stepped up to the challenge and your momma cried as I watched you swoosh down the hill to a 5th place finish, your grit and determination shining through. You also competed in your 3rd triathlon and you even inspired your daddy to join you in training and participating in the event. I love that you take on these little challenges and you are always up for trying something new.

Getting Ready for a Whale Shark Snorkel, Leyte Island Philippines

This was your first summer in the US (since you were a little tot) and within days of your arrival we packed your bags and sent you off to Catalina Island Camps for a week of Summer camp fun. It is no surprise that you came back back with a bag full of dirty clothes, sun drenched skin and a deep desire for everything camp, you’re certainly our kid! The rest of your summer was spent hanging out with your cousin Aurora, making great big globs of slime, camping, eating popsicles, and going on picnics. Another highlight of your summer was getting up close and personal with the local manta rays and dolphins on the big island of Hawaii. You giggled with delight as the mantas tickle your tummy while they somersaulted before our eyes. I am not sure how many other kids would be brave enough to jump into the deep, dark ocean to swim with such giant creatures, but like I said you really are our kid.

Marketing her new cereal, “Kitty Crunches”

If this year had a theme, it would be “pink fluffy unicorns dancing on rainbows.” You came home from camp singing this song and it really does fit your gregarious personality. Your life continues to be full of song, and you are really finding your voice. You love to be outside and you persist as an advocate for animals and the environment. You are a voracious reader, with books about science, graphic novels and Garfield being some of your favorites. You are a proud member of student council and you are really finding your leadership niche at school.

Taking a Gondola at the Taipei Zoo

This year more than ever, you have been trying to find a sense of home. On several occasions you have asked “Mommy, where am I from” and we have had many conversations about the variety of possible answers you can give. I know that the answer to this question will be ever evolving as you grow up as a child of the world. During our Fall trip to Mongolia, we had the chance to stay with several Nomadic families that move their home every season and there was a lot to learn from that beautiful experience. So as we stand together on the precipice of your 9th year on this earth, let’s embrace the wise words of our nomadic hosts:

“Home is where the fire is”

“Learn to live as part of the environment and let it be your teacher”

“Learn from living together in small spaces”

“When you first arrive to a new place, be sure to reach down and say hello to the land first.”

May this year be filled with warmth and love, family and friends, laughter and adventure, enlightenment and knowledge. With love baby girl.

                                                                                                      – Your Mommy

Related Posts

Mongolia Part 1: Among Nomads

Mongolia Part 2: Among Riders

Mongolia Part 3: Among the Holy

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