Letters to our Children – May 2013

Hi Kids!

I’m hoping for something a little less deep this month…since I feel like the past two months have been nothing but pouring my heart out!

I wanted to talk to you both a little bit about fear ūüôā

I’m a very proud Mama – of course you know I always am! ¬†But recently, you both surprised me a little!

Liam, when you walked into your bedroom today and saw Lola with a bloody nose, you reacted quickly, came to get me, and helped as I cleaned her up!  You were scared, sure, but you also helped and even made a couple suggestions (based on what your friend at school, who also had bloody noses, did).  Thank you so much for being a great helper even when it was a scary situation!

Lola, I know it was SO SCARY to go up on that stage for dance! ¬†You were tired, clingy, and cranky, but you managed to get out there. You weren’t very happy about it, but YOU DID IT!!

Working on my ROAR!

Liam, I know you were a bit nervous about dancing too – but you remembered all your moves, and were so brave! ¬†You are such a hip-hop Jungle Boogie superstar ūüôā


There will be many times in our lives when we are a little bit scared – but know that you will always have loving arms to celebrate with you and to support you if you do not succeed! ¬†I love you both ūüôā


Follow the Letters to Our Children blog circle along to Theresa Martel!!

Lauren - This is a sweet letter Karin!

Jamie - Super cute letter!!

Letters to our children – April 2013

My sweet Liam and Lola, this month has brought many, many ups and downs.  The biggest change, is that I was let go from my full time engineering job three weeks before I was scheduled to take my Professional Engineer Exam (I wrote about in my letter last month).

Scary and unexpected, this is really a blessing and great news!  More importantly than that, I am SO happy to report even though I am officially unemployed РI stuck with it, and studied my hardest, gave that test 100% of everything I had.  It is done.  I will not know the outcome until July, but I feel so good about how it went, the outcome is inconsequential.  I am completely and entirely proud of myself.

Now, back to our big life change. ¬†Now that the exam is over, we left your amazing daycare (or “school” as you like to call it) and you will be staying home with me. ¬†This brings a whole other set of challenges, most of which we will discover as we go along. ¬†Fears about money, and if I’ll be good enough at keeping you engaged and¬†entertained, and the like; but that is not what I’d like to focus on the message for the month.

I’d like to just take a few moments and tell you both about the things we’ve learned this past month.

1. ¬†Our elders are our treasures. ¬†Grandma Dora (my grandmother) came to visit when Mema and Papa came for a week before the test. She is officially a prayer warrior, and prays every morning and every night. ¬†She has lived on this earth for over 90 years (and still going strong). ¬†I am so in awe of her faith, and her love, I am so blessed we had a chance to live with her for a week and you two got to see it first hand ūüôā

2.  Faith is a treasure.  Every night we say prayers for everyone we love, and extra prayers for those in our lives that need it.  Recently, we pray nightly for my cousin Mamie, who awoke from a coma after 11 days and is well on her way to recovery.  It is nothing short of a miracle.  We all did our part together to help in that.
3. ¬†Family is a treasure. ¬†Heartache. ¬†Pain. ¬†Hurt and death. ¬†These things will always exist in the world. ¬†But so will family, close at hand to lend a shoulder to cry on, an arm to steady our walk, or far away and close in heart with kind words of “I love you” even across the country through email.
4. ¬†Helpers are a treasure. ¬†Scary things happened in Boston, and Liam, you had a lot of questions because you’ve been to races with me and somehow you know what bombs and explosions are. But we focused all those questions around all the helpers we saw on the news: firefighters, policemen, volunteers. ¬†In tragedy (see number 3) ¬†somehow humanity shines and gives hope….pulling together and fighting back when fear and hopelessness try to overcome us.
5. Storms are scary. ¬†Sometimes its the mess after the storm that is hard to deal with too. ¬†We had so much rain and as you both said when looking downstairs; “WOW! ¬†THERE IS A LAKE IN THE BASEMENT!” You both noticed that Mom and Dad worked as a team to clean up the mess, and you both helped with the final mopping. ¬†Because we are family, and we work hard together to keep our house running….through ups and downs, storms and sunny skies. ¬†Even when we had to toss out some stuff that we couldn’t save, at the end of the day it is just stuff. ¬†The stuff doesn’t really matter.
What does matter, is us.  We will figure it out and weather through it all; with God, and each other.

Please follow the “Letters to Our Children” Blog circle to Heather Rodburg!

Jamie - Love!!!!

Lauren - You have written another beautiful, honest letter Karin. Your children will like these letters now, but really cherish them when they are older. Well done!

Stacy Loveridge - Beautiful Karin! Very well said. I Love this letter.

Jen Davis - Love this letter, the lessons learned this month is such a great idea!

Jes Gwozdz - Karin, your letters are always so awesome. So sorry to hear about your basement flood.

kat - What wonderful words! Thanks so much for sharing!

Letters to My Children – March 2013

This letter, my dear children, is a story, an apology, and a thank you note, all rolled up into one.

Across the course of our lives, we have to make various difficult choices.  There are always a variety of reasons, limitations, circumstances; and this is no different.  I had to make a choice.  Did I want it? Or did I want to give up? 

Am I headed in the right direction?

It was strongly suggested that I take the PE (Professional Engineer) exam for work.¬† I didn’t want to.¬† I drug my feet.¬† I kicked the dirt.¬† I thought it was dumb for a Chemical Engineer to have to do what Civil Engineers do. ¬† I thought it was dumb that I had to learn for the first time Civil fundamentals which I¬†explicitly¬†did NOT want to study in college. ¬†I despised the fact I was supposed to master concepts like Momentum and Reactions and Trusses and such. ¬†Most of all, I didn’t want to divert what little energy I had away from you both and Dad. ¬†But, that’s what they wanted me to do, so with a lot of preparation in the first quarter of 2012 I¬†begrudgingly¬†did it.

And in June, I found out I failed.

I was angry. ¬†I was upset. ¬†I was so¬†disappointed¬†in myself. ¬†I didn’t know if I wanted to go through that grueling 8 hour piece of hell (in addition to the 250+ hours of preparation) again. ¬†But in hindsight, I realized I spent so much energy fighting the fact that I didn’t want to take the exam, that I didn’t leave much on the table available for actually succeeding in taking it.

Not the happiest camper….

So I made another big decision. I wanted to show you, my sweet boy and girl, that even though life is difficult, and some tasks appear to be¬†insurmountable,¬†that if you¬†believe¬†in yourself and give yourself a little focus you can achieve great things.¬† Even if (or especially if) you’ve failed before. ¬†I chose to plow through the swamp of preparation and forge ahead. ¬†It meant temporarily but actively shifting the focus away from my most important and most precious treasure….my family.

I still harbor some pretty strong guilt about doing this. ¬†Why? ¬†Well, when Dad isn’t travelling, I quickly eat dinner and am downstairs at 6PM to work problems or watch one of the online classes (which you both like to peek in and see “the guy in the computer”). ¬†On weekends, I’m off in the morning to study at Panera (since the library isn’t open too early) and come home late in the afternoon. ¬†When I do come home, I’m¬†exhausted¬† and generally not much fun to be around. ¬†I don’t have a lot of extra energy to put into meal planning or cooking, and that means we’re all not eating as well as I would like, and forget about housecleaning……. ¬†I’m leaning a lot on Dad to help carry the load, and¬†although¬†he is more than happy to support me through this mess (since he’s been there himself, 10 years ago) sometimes that makes him not in the greatest of moods either.

When Dad is travelling, I don’t sleep very well. ¬†Which means I’m short tempered, angry, tired and upset that I’m tired and angry and upset. I’m left with not much energy to be a good mom, let alone to study. ¬†Which again, makes me generally not much fun to be around. ¬†I see you, Liam, walking on eggshells doing your best not to make me upset, or rushing to help Lola put toys away. ¬†I see that look in your eyes – searching my face to see if I’m going to explode or yell or cry from being at the end of my rope. ¬†And it breaks my heart. ¬†But then, you’ll ask after a hard day of studying, “Mom! Did you learn lots of things so you can get all the questions right?” ¬†My answer is always the same, “Well, I’m sure trying my hardest, and I will do the best I can. ¬†But yes, I think I will get them all right.” ¬†Liam, you make me believe in ME!

I’m trying so hard to let go of the guilt, to let it be OK that I want this PE. SO BAD. ¬†To let it be OK to lean on you, my family, to support me in my crazy endeavors. ¬†Even though I am paralyzed with fear that I might fail again, I want to be strong enough to admit to you both and to Dad that I want to be smart enough, to prove myself, to equalize my playing field at work. ¬†But it is so, so hard.

Liam and Lola, I am so so sorry to drag you all through this. ¬†But it is only temporary…..

Waving goodbye to the bumpy, prickly road, and looking forward to happiness!

One more month, and I’ll be free again. ¬† I can’t say that I will get to make it all up to you. ¬†Chances are, I’ll just collapse in a big ¬†heap of goo, and hopefully be able to gain back some resemblance of normalcy in a reasonable amount of time. ¬†I’ll probably still be short tempered and irritable at times….but I will be so so thankful that you all supported me when some days even I didn’t think I could do it myself.

We’ll be OK as long as we have each other.

¬†I’m sorry. ¬†Thank you. ¬†And I love you both, so very much.


Follow our Letters to Our Children Blog Circle over to David Villano!

Jes Gwozdz - Karin, I have so much admiration for you for taking this challenge on while working full time and being a mom to two young kids. You totally rock and your kids and hubby know it. xoxo

Jen Davis - Its a wonderful thing you are doing for your family, in the long run. I’m sure they will see that you persevered even though it was hard. Great post.

Jamie - You are an amazing mom and never doubt that! Beautiful post.

tanya karaman - Sometimes the hardest things we have to do involve taking the focus temporarily away from the ones we love…so that we can give them so much more in the end. Best wishes!!

Janelle - I love you.

Lauren - Karin, this is a beautiful letter. I love your honesty, openness and raw emotions. Even though it is hard right now, you are teaching your kids so much- to work hard, even when you fail and to lean on others. None of us can do it alone. Best of luck on your exam! You rock girl!

Anonymous - Karin,

I don’t know you very well but I’am amazed by you and all you do.

Buena Suerte.


Stacy Loveridge - Karin you are such an amazing mother! I know what you mean about feeling guilty, but we gotta do what we gotta do, because in the long run it pays off for our families.

Tinarr - Love you, you are amazing at all you do!

CreativeM Photo Blog - You kids will hardly remember this time later in their lives, I know because I was as single mom who worked full-time and went to school full-time. You are going to pass and you will be better for having the courage to get up, and try. That is the lesson I hope you tell and remind your kids. When you fail, you can try, try again.

Joni - Karin- don’t you ever think that you are not giving your family enough. Sometimes you might not feel like you’re there for them but you are teaching them many life lessons through your actions. Those kids are going to grow into strong, brave, confident and beautiful adults because of your love and commitment.

Letters to our Children – February 2013

I’m embarking on a new project for the next year with some of my cyberfriends – a monthly letter to our children. ¬†This is my first stab at it – and I think its going to be rather fun ūüôā

My dearest Liam and Lola,

I don’t think I can even begin to describe how much I adore watching the two of you interact.  It is the ENTIRE reason we wanted more than one child, and frankly, the best gift we could have given you.  Each other.  Yes, there are battles…sometimes hilarious, more often than not just plain irritating.  But this, oh this kind of moment.  Sitting together, sharing, talking, learning, coloring, laughing as only siblings can….this is bliss.

Don‚Äôt even get me started about how much I LOVE your drawings.¬† Liam this is a relatively recent development for you.¬† You never really enjoyed coloring, and weren‚Äôt really interested in drawing pictures (of course, paper does not have wheels, so I understand why).¬† But in the last month there has been an EXPLOSION of drawings.¬† Drawings of your family, of your favorite subject (angry birds, star wars, or a combination of the two), drawings of your friends‚Äô names ‚Äď little scribbles where you decide you want something different and turn it into something else.¬† I love EVERY little piece of paper that you bring home and insist you HAVE to display it somewhere on a wall.¬† In the hallway.¬† In the livingroom. In the bathroom.¬† In ALL of our bedrooms.¬† Sometimes you make a picture for someone special, sometimes you get ‚Äútired‚ÄĚ of a subject (like houses, or angry birds) and move on to something else.¬† Every picture you bring home is like looking directly at the synapses firing in your brain.¬† I love the creativity, I love the back stories, and mostly, I love how proud you are of your work.¬† Being proud of yourself is something that isn‚Äôt always easy to do (for me, anyway) ‚Äď I¬† hope you hold on to that forever!

R2D2’s – Liam 2013

Now, Lola is beginning to see your pictures and as little sisters do she is following your lead, drawing, creating, learning and showing us her ‚Äústories‚ÄĚ, too.¬†¬†
Our Family – Lola 2013

Lola, I love all your colorful people ‚Äď but my favorite thing is when you bring home a paper with all of our names written clear as day.¬† Our little family.¬† Those four little words, Liam, Lola, Mom and Dad, show me that we are the most important thing to you, sweet girl.¬† And that tells me that despite all the chaos that is our life, Dad and I must be doing something right.

And I couldn’t be more proud.


Follow the circle around, to my dear (and very missed) friend, Holly of Holly Burkholder Photography!!

Lauren - Beautiful message Karin! I too love how my kids play together. And their art is a treasure!

Jamie - Beautiful Karin!!

Jen Davis - What a beautiful post Karin! I can’t wait until my 2 can play like yours…love your images!

Jes Gwozdz - Love this post, Karin! I am always looking for new creative ways to display my kids’ art in the house.

Heather - What a fabulous letter to your children–it is such a heartwarming experience watching your children interact and play together. And I love how you included their awesome artwork as well!!

Stacy Loveridge - Beautiful! I LOVE the drawings. I love how they play together.

Struggling Disciple - You are making me get teary eyed. Love ya

David Villano - Love those drawings!! Great letter Karin!

Jaimie - I love this post about your kids and their interaction.

{Liam’s Baptism} :: Chicago Family Event Photographer

Love has arrived in Chicago, and his name is Liam ūüôā Seriously, what a sweet, happy and photogenic little dude. I connected with his family, and was invited to capture his Baptism celebration. There is nothing more incredible than sharing such moments with a wonderful family so full of love – and on top of all that we had a gorgeous day, and the setting was impeccible in a beautiful backyard. Congratulations on your Christening, Liam! You are a lucky boy to have a family that loves you so much!













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