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letters to our daughters | 2013 | monterey photographer

letters to our daughters | september | 2013

i am delighted to be a part of a new blog circle! each month we will write letters to our daughters. please be sure to follow the link after the pictures! enjoy!


Dear Maddy,

This is my first letter to you in this series…and I must admit, I was at a loss for what to write!  I thought about writing how proud I am of you (which I am). Or how I see you through my eyes. Or what you have been doing this past month. Needless to say, I was having a hard time!

Finally, I decided to get your input. I know how I see you, but I was curious to see how you see yourself. So, on a Sunday night, as I was tucking you into bed, I asked you to describe yourself in three words. Your first word was “athletic”. You told me how you love to play sports. I agreed…you are an athlete! You have a knack for picking up sports. You ran over three miles with me the other day and promised not to kill me in the process (although you did yell at me running up the hill!). You are fierce in your karate class! I love watching you with your high kicks and sharp punches…bad guys beware! You are an athlete!

For the second word, you chose “smart”. I, once again, agree with you completely! I love that you recognize this and aren’t afraid to say it. There have been times when you are frustrated at learning new skills- you’re very much like me…I want it and I want it now! It is frustrating! However, when you find yourself struggling, please think about the second word you used to describe yourself, take a deep breath, and work it out…it will be worth the effort! You are smart!

Finally, for your third word, you chose “cute”. This makes me smile…I remember the look on your face as you said this word (too bad I didn’t have my camera with me- probably one of the few times I was without it!). You are cute…you have the ability to make a funny face or say something cute, and I can’t help but smile…you lift my spirits! You are too cute!

While you were the one who came up with the words to describe yourself, I am putting them in print. So one day, down the road, if you ever lose your way…just remember: You are athletic. You are smart. You are cute. You are my everything!

I love you!



please check out my friend Heather’s blog next and see her beautiful letter to her daughters! i promise you…you will not be disappointed by these ladies- a very talented group of women…i am very fortunate to a part of this group!


Kim Pennington - So sweet. Your daughter seems like she is very joyful.

lauren - joanna… I love how real and authentic these feel… just beautiful!

Elicia - I adore these Joanna. What an awesome kiddo you have. I’m loving that funny face and the one in the grass. :)

Lala - This makes me so proud….to the point of tearing up! Please let Maddy know she is athletic, smart. but BEAUTIFUL. Thank you for documenting these truths. All I can tell you is that the apple NEVER falls far from the tree!

You BOTH make me so proud. What a privilege to just be able to be on the sidelines as an observer Love you BOTH.

Melissa - Love everything about reading this and your beautiful girl. So well put. My goddaughter is all of that and more. Love you both. Xoxo

J. Reynolds Photography - thank you, missy! lala!

J. Reynolds Photography - thank you! i agree- she is beautiful! and what can we say? we learn from the best!

kimberly - I love this letter Joanna. You have raised one wise little girl! She should be so proud of herself. I would write those words on her wall. So cool!

Linda H - JoAnna, these are beautiful images. And I love how you approached the letter – you certainly have a athletic, smart, cute daughter!!

Genesis - This is so sweet, and your daughter looks like a lot of fun!

365 | week 25 | monterey lifestyle photographer

168 | 365


i made it back to my parents’ house in the mountains…don’t worry! it’s not the building on fire! my mom and i ventured out to a great play place for the kids.  finn got to practice his firefighter skills…needless to say, i felt just a little bit safer that night!


169 | 365

bath time

how could i resist a picture in this tub? this picture was much better than a couple of days later when my children helped my parents discover some leaks in the plumbing…ugh!


170 | 365


we ventured out to the great smokey mountain national park in cataloochee, nc, to have a picnic dinner and look for elk.  we drove down to the end of our park, set up our chairs, and then passed out the fried chicken! once we finished eating, sure enough…elk were walking around!  i do have pictures of the elk, but this one stood out to me more.  first of all, i loved the fact that my daughter was a willing participant (at least for a few minutes).  i also loved the light. she is indeed searching…the question is what is she really searching for?  whatever it is, i surely hope she finds it!


171 | 365


while i was at the beach, i received the shocking news that my college roommate, LTC Jaimie Leonard, was killed in afghanistan. it was a very surreal moment.  sadly, this was not first person i knew to die in combat- nor will it be the last…however, this was a woman that i lived with for two years of my life!  i knew i needed to attend the funeral and pay my respects.  what i didn’t know was how much that trip would affect me.  i graduated with very few women from the united states military academy.  while i knew that we all shared a bond, it wasn’t really reinforced until that day i attended Jaimie’s funeral.  i cannot even put into words how amazing these women are- and how blessed i am to be a small part of this incredible group.  while we all ponder death and how can someone who had so much to offer be taken from us so soon, i just want her to know that it was not in vain.  grip hands!


172 | 365

talking with birds

after my quick trip to new york and back, i was so happy to just sit outside and enjoy the view and sounds of nature.  my daughter very much enjoyed playing with the bird whistle…i’m not so sure how much i enjoyed that, as well as the birds?


173 | 365


i walked into my room one night and found this sign…i’m not sure what motivated my kids to write this message on poster board for me, but i felt like this should be a part of my 365 journey…i’m determined to finish!


174 | 365


i really do miss the rain- the sounds, the smell, the feelings of just wanting to curl up on the couch! i know this picture is a bit dizzying, but i can’t help but like it!

365 | week 24 | monterey lifestyle photographer

161 | 365

wave fighters

my kids were reunited with their friends from north carolina for a surprise visit at the beach.  this is my son and his friend battling the waves…they just picked up like they had seen each other the day before!


162 | 365

beach explorers

here are all of the kids hanging out at the beach…doing what parents like them doing best: entertaining themselves!  it was quite the day, filled with jellyfish rescuing, boogie boarding, wave fighting, and just enjoying each other’s company!  i’m so glad we all had the opportunity to keep our friendships current and thriving…i’m realizing the importance of this even more the older i get!


163 | 365

my girl

i know i always seem to have the serious gaze pictures from my daughter…and perhaps it is partly because i view her as such a thoughtful, introspective individual; however, she’s not always this serious! but i do love the intensity with those beautiful blue eyes!


164 | 365


after throwing out the jellyfish that was stinking up the bucket, we replaced the jellyfish with the baby shark my husband and daughter found on the beach. my kids named the shark buddy. we toted buddy around a bit longer than we should have…to the point, i could smell buddy’s bucket upwind on the beach!  hopefully buddy is sailing better seas these days after his return to the sea!


165 | 365


i was so happy to capture this moment between these two! i couldn’t have planned it better if i tried! i have said it before, but this picture truly shows just how much my son adores his big sister and just how much she loves her little brother…just look at the picture! need i say more???


166 | 365

memories of grandpa’s garden

beach week is officially over, and i headed back to my sister’s house for the night.  she recently planted hydrangeas in her yard. i love these flowers! they bring back memories of my grandfather’s house. growing up, we spent a lot of time with my grandparents.  as i look back, i am incredibly grateful for the time i got to spend with my grandparents…grateful for the flowers to help remind me of those times!


167 | 365

lightbulb moment

i was at a loss for what to take a picture of for today…and then the lightbulb came on!

full circle | august 2013 | monterey lifestyle photographer

full circle | august 2013 | motion blur

this month’s blog circle theme was motion blur! i must admit that i was a bit intimidated by the topic.  however, i set out to attempt a “panning” picture…which i discovered is quite difficult!  there were way more failed shots (just blur!) than successful!  i am not even sure that i can classify these as a total success- but i’ll take them for now…you can only have so many people ride past you so many times to attempt a shot (thank goodness for the neighbor’s bike-themed birthday party).

so- here are my panning attempts for this month!

when you’re done, please check out my friend, Carrie, and make the full circle!

Kayla - The determination in his face in the last image is so sweet!

Deb Moll - Such joyous images! The blurry backgrounds really add to the action and fun.

Mickisha - These are so fun Joanna! I am in love with the first two images. What a great memory this will be!

rhonda - Love the face in the last shot

365 | week 23 | monterey lifestyle photographer

154 | 365


just another picture of my two monkeys playing together…or really just trying to hide from me!


155 | 365

nighttime play session

what can i say? my boy is a night owl! he could spend hours entertaining himself in his room before he feels the need to sleep. here’s hoping kindergarten will break that habit!


156 | 365

farewell brunch

bittersweet…while i love a good breakfast with a girlfriend, this was the last one we were going to have while living in california together. i will definitely miss our morning chats over french toast, bacon, eggs, and coffee…i will miss her even more!


157 | 365

pesky siblings

another opportunity for friends to play! thankfully, this was a moment in time when all four seemed to be getting along! we will miss them when they leave!


158 | 365

goodbye hugs

last day of school for the 2012-2013 school year.  every morning, i looked forward to the moment that my son would say goodbye to his big sister before he headed to daycare. some days, she was more willing to reciprocate than others…thankfully, this day she had nothing but love for him!


159 | 365


from california to north carolina…we made our trip cross country and started beach week! i loved being able to enjoy an east coast sunset and happy hour with my family!


160 | 365

titi time

i love the connection my sister has with my children…it warms my heart in so many ways just watching them together! they sure do love their titi! and i’m pretty sure she loves them even more (if that’s possible?!).

f a c e b o o k