Celebrating Cameron

The baby of our family, Cameron, is now a toddler. Turning two years old today, she has now officially emerged from her little baby cocoon and is on the road to adolescence. Yes, my timeline is a bit dramatic – but I promise it truly does go by in the blink of an eye!

But enough about my emotions. Check out the fun we had today celebrating Cameron, aka Scooby.

She partied topless (and pants-less) for most of the morning, much to her delight. What is it with the desire to run around naked?! I don’t get it. I digress.

Also, we are in a phase where this (see below) is her smile. I promise she’s a happy child.

We decked the walls with homemade decorations in the wee hours before her brunch party. All the big kids helped mommy and daddy with this.

We gave Cameron her birthday gift early so she could play in it the whole day. The kids all enjoyed her new pop-up ball pit. I’m thrilled, because sometimes you just never know what’s going to be a hit and what’s going to be a waste of space, hunk ‘o junk.

Oh, and there’s her “smile” again.

Lots of yummy food was prepared. I love being pregnant and cooking up a feast. I get to make everything I personally am craving. So, yay for me. The menu consisted of white chicken chili, Pioneer Woman’s Cowboy Quiche, mustard roasted potatoes, tomato feta salad, white cheddar mac and cheese, lemon yogurt cake and cupcakes.

When party time came, Cammie was appropriately dressed in the same adorable skirt that Natalie wore for her second birthday.

And then friends came over to shower her with love and affection and joy and kindness and delight and sharing of toys and all the things a parent could want their children to experience.

Hubby and I are absolutely blessed by the presence of these folks, who stick by us through all the years and all the kids and all the ups and the downs. We’re an undeniably lucky crew.

We blinked our eyes and Cameron turned two. She’s a much changed girl from last year

This year she embraced the birthday process and the happy birthday song and even blew out her own candle. She also enjoyed the heck out of that cupcake.

With memories still fresh from Christmas, she remembered that opening gifts is awesome and that she should get fired up for this part of her big day.

Cameron received many, many generous and treasured and thoughtful gifts. 

And since we are parents who accidentally scheduled her party during her nap time (because we are brilliant and not insane and not forgetful), Cameron was a tired toddler who almost took a nap on her first gift, a puppy dog sleeping bag.

We have so many friends and family to thank for celebrating with us. It would never be the same without you all.

Here’s to cherishing another blessed year with our Cameron!

What made my year

The year is almost over (seriously?!), but the memories of 2017 will stay with me far into the coming days. I try to make it a habit to look back at the good, the bad and the ugly of each year and make a Top 10 list of sorts. It is a blessing of an exercise just to sort through all the memories, acheivements, battles, failures and wins.

In compiling these lists, I came to the conclusion that anything that sounded good at the end of this sentence should make the cut:
“2017 was the year that such and such happened (Such and such of course being my memorable event).”

Please enjoy my Oh, That Was the Year [THAT] Happened List
(in no particular order):

#1:  My youngest child turned ONE. Cameron, aka Scooby, already lived one full year of her astonishing life. How could it have passed so quickly?

#2:  I became more church involved. I used to feel like such an outsider at my church, and I used to blame that feeling on my church community, staff, etc. I realized over time that it was me choosing to not connect that was causing the distance. I decided to commit more of myself through volunteering in the nursery, volunteering with church needs, teaching Sunday school, joining Women’s Bible Study, joining church-based Facebook groups, and taking road trips with other church moms. It has made all the difference. I now feel like it is MY church.

#3:  Hubby and I looked at one another and said, “Oh crap, we want another kid, don’t we?!” We decided to go crazy and attempt a fourth Busbee nugget. We got very, very lucky and were blessed with a beating heart growing in my belly. I want the world to know that I do not take this budding life lightly. The struggle that I know other hopeful parents face in trying to start a family is one I think about on a daily basis. I just try to do my very best to trust God’s plan for my life and be immensely grateful for it.

#4:  I lost my dearest kitty, Pinto. He was an indoor/outdoor kitty and he went on a hike one day and never came back. He was 15 years old and was notably sick. I think he made the process easy on me by not allowing me to see him suffer. Pinto just went away to rest peacefully, and that’s the best a cat mama can hope for.

#5:  I went surfing in Hawaii, crushing my fear of deep water. This was pretty huge for me. Okay, I was a really bad surfer. But the attempt was real!

#6:  Hubby and I put our faith to the test as I transitioned from the workforce into being a stay-at-home mom and full-time freelance photographer. It is terrifying to leave something comfortable, something that pays a consistent salary, something where I have adult coworkers. Part of that big change of course is living off one salary, giving up office benefits and healthcare, and paying for my own office supplies. It’s been an incredible adjustment!

#7:  We took a cruise with our closest friends. Six days at sea and island hopping. I honestly can’t even remember the destination. It’s the company that counts. We had an absolute blast traveling with our kiddos and the Bowen family.

#8:  I got a new job and I struggled with it. Staying at home full time with my children is hard work. I swear, there are times when I feel not nearly enough for them, like I’m just not built for this job. But I spent the past six months learning to balance life at home, learning to cook eggs to order, learning how to be the sole disciplinarian and home manager. Coupled with freelance, I feel as if I work double the hours as I did when I went to the office.

#9:  Both big kids went to elementary school. My two eldest kiddos are now in school, Caleb in third grade and Natalie in kindergarten. It feels immense. It feels like it all happened overnight.

#10:  We spent a bliss-filled weekend in a mountain cabin. I love the mountains and I love cozying up with family and friends. 

So that was my year. And how quickly it passed!