happy birthday kayla

Today is my eldest daughter’s 12th birthday.  Being a parent isn’t always easy, but it’s definitely a labor of love.  I’ve been reflecting on Kayla’s growing up today, and thought I’d share some pictures and thoughts.

She was born at 9:25 on the morning of June 23, 1997.  This is the first picture taken of her, right after she arrived.

Here, we’re celebrating her first birthday over cupcakes in beautiful Seward Alaska.  She braved the vacation nicely, even sleeping well despite the midnight sun.

One year later, we celebrated her birthday at her grandparent’s house in California.  I’m not sure she noticed the duck.

We celebrated her third birthday on the east coast.  I’d had a business trip to NYC, and we decided to make it into a family vacation as well.  Here, Kayla is upset because she didn’t understand that Aunt Sandy had gotten her an ice cream cake.  I think her words were "I wanted a birthday cake".

Her fourth birthday was celebrated at home, with her friends.  Here, she’s covering her ears to avoid having to listen to her father sing to her.

Here, she blows out the candles on her fifth birthday.  This was her first birthday as a big sister.

Here, she observes the morning of her sixth birthday, over special pancakes prepared by her Grandpa Solem at the lake home in Wisconsin.

Just before her seventh birthday we visited her good friend Lauren in Bellingham.  Here, she cradles Lauren’s gerbil during our visit.

In 2005, we celebrated birthday number eight in Sunriver Oregon, where Kris was doing her first half-iron triathlon.  My parents joined us for the occasion, and some very good cake.

Birthday number nine was observed with a knitting party at the "new old" house we’d moved into months before.  It was a lot of fun watching the girls enjoying learning the basics of knitting.

Kayla learned to sail just after her tenth birthday.  It was a big thrill for me watching her navigate the waters of Lake Washington on the fourth of July.  It’s really something watching your kids learn to do things you don’t know how to do yourself.

Here, Kayla smiles after blowing out the candles at her eleventh birthday party in Cottage Grove Minnesota, surrounded by grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.

Here’s a picture taken last week, just before the family birthday celebration in Wisconsin.  She’s enjoying listening to music with her cousin Eric, sharing earbuds.

Pictures don’t really ever tell the whole story of a person, but they do illustrate our daughter becoming her own person.  We’re very proud of you Kayla – Happy Birthday!

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