oh mila, my sweet girl. you have so much love for mama. constantly coming up to deliver kisses and give me squeezes. sometimes i'm unsure how you have that much love inside your wee body! you get the best giggle from papa sillies and the way you look wide-eyed at your big sister evia when she is unknowingly giving you one of life's-simplest-of-lesson. i get teary thinking about how much life you still have ahead of you and the amazing journey it will be. you've proven in your five years that you will continue to balance whatever life throws at you. you have such will power and simultaneously have the sweetest softness. 

you love kitties, salads with vinegar, aged cheeses, signing the annie musical, dancing, older kids, laughing, all of your family and learning to read. what you don't like: weird smells, when mama says you can't sleep in her bed and being *made* to do something. 

i kept waiting for us to recover the photos on the external hard-drive to write this post so i could show a year in the life of mila...but alas it's still broken and 3
months later i'm finally just going for it. instead, a few photos from your birthday that hadn't been uploaded. you made some huge triumphs this year and i am so proud of you. (and even when you creep in in the middle of the night and mama says you have to go back to sleep in your own bed, which is basically never...i immediately wish it didn't have to be and instead you were curled right back up next to me). 

i love your 5 year self and who you will become.


our bright light :: seven

every time i look at the news i'm disturbed and taken down a rabbit hole of questioning "what will become of this world we're raising our children in?" never before i have i cared as much about the future of our planet and our country. in the past i always felt optimistic when there were concerns globally and domestic. someone knows how to stop this, there are coalitions, governments, organizations, and educators that will know how to make it all better. i want my children to grow up in a thriving and safe environment.

what snaps me out of the despair? what brings light into this darkness? for one, seeing my children smiling. in my opinion, never should we turn a blind eye to the reality of the world around us, we should always be aware and educated, but for me capturing my babies lives and recognizing how fortunate we are (to eat ice cream, splash in the water on a pristine beach, spend holidays together as a family and as simple as having easy access to healthy food and clean water) is the best antidote to what seems like desperate times. 

so in addition to the insta mini books i give the kids each year (so they can see all the moments i capture of THEIR lives), here is also an annual blog post, a year-in-review of my sweet girl in her seventh year - bringing a bright light into all the lives of those she comes in contact with. in this-world-that-mama-feels-is-so-uncertain, one thing i know for sure -  she makes it a better place. happy birthday!
putting in some work april 2016 when we moved into the new house
spending time with family, one of her all time favorite pastimes
doesn't stop dancing, even in her dreams
almost outgrown the tub for joint baths
experiencing her first event at her future school, carnival
 little friends at her old school for last event before the end of the year, olympiad day

she loved her kinder teacher mrs. estrello
one of her all time favorite people, nana, on vaca together
stage left jr. summer camp, performing with one of her buddies penelope (2 on stage)
she adores her papa and any hobby he enjoys she does too! fishing on father's day and she caught one!

summer solstice fairy sisters!

tea time with little friends in the new hood
a dear friend's beach birthday - fun!

ice cream with her favorite "older" girls + salty joe on girls trip!
playing in snow run-off can be tricky business but she swam all day, july, eastern sierras
fiesta parade with sweet friends
last pancake breakfast, an age-old sb fiesta tradition, she has attended all her years
not fiesta without a cousin afternoon at the cantina

wrapping up summer with a little disneyland magic
loving up her baby cousin, for the day
lost her tooth just in time for the first day of first grade

first day of first grade

enjoying the summer weather

reading "tree" poem for the santa barbara beautiful awards
halloween walk into school with fun neighbors
loves her nana and grandpa time and a sack full of candy!
loves the things she gets to participate in with the girls scouts, including honoring our veterans at a local parade
trip to the fire station to present gifts for first-responders day with one of her fave classmates
nutcracker silliness
glam-ing and ham-ing while getting ready for her nutcracker performance
some of her adoring fans
xmas eve with their sweet cousin

 special time with gam

 special time with grandma

snow-fun with cousins
first march, mlk jr. day
this girl loves to sell cookies (every chance she got she was outside, makin' sales!)

entered the american girl obsession

softball buds

game day!
caring award
checkers with the master, gma lu
spring break chill time with papa

they can be such rascals with one another, but she loves her time with her sissy so much

two people that can make her belly laugh and her older cousin is one of them
special ice cream date and presents with grandma t

party day :: fairies
invites = crafty time for mama and party girl

we had fun coming up with fairy food like, twigs = pretzels, fairy berries, morning dew = water, pixie punch...but it was nice to have a yummy lunch for the grown ups too!
the actual birthday was pretty great too = starting with chocolate donuts to accompany breakfast!

a mom of one of her classmates makes these beautiful felt crowns for each child's birthday, all unique to their personalities

mama was a little naughty and brought in-n-out to school to keep the celebratory day going strong

even josefina now gets to be an honorary daisy

the busy day continues, troop meeting and birthday song

at bedtime, she said her favorite part of the day, was the scavenger hunt little sissy came up with (hidden presents from her to find)

busy day doesn't end here, softball practice and the birthday song
dinner and her nana and grandpa