The year is new / my baby turned two

I started a blog post the night before Polly's birthday describing the tightening in my chest as the moment of her actual Birth-day approached. Naturally, I felt overwhelmed with love for our cherished second daughter and at the same time (as usual) I felt the ever-increasing sense of alarm and even dismay at how fast the time is passing. I have tried to hold my daughters both close, to feel every moment of their babyhood and young childhood, even the tough ones, but especially the sweet ones. When I'm frustrated at how long they are taking to fall to sleep as I rock them or hold them or lie down next to them so they can hold my "ba" (that's their pet name for arm, a phrase and action that both girls have and continue to utilize) I almost always remember to check that frustration and instead place my cheek against their soft curly babyish hair and breathe them in and feel their warm snuggly bodies close to my heart. And yet, as I look back at photos and blog entries, the experiences I've had with my babies: our trip to monterey last summer, our camping trips, their tiny naked bodies jumping around in the little pool last spring, already feel so distant. The past seems to become increasingly difficult to access. Though I know from experience that from time to time, certain memories show up with sudden unmatched clarity and vividness - I've learned to harness those times best I can, turn up the song, lean in to the scent, close my eyes, try to be there, feel that memory to my bones. Because then it's lost again. It's a central part of the human experience and we all learn to deal with it in our own ways.

rainy day birthday girl outside the library.
Anyway I want this year to be about making memories and capturing them and loving most purely this little family of mine. (There is a lot more in the works for this year but I'll elaborate later.) For now, we celebrate our fun, spunky, creative, lovable little two year old! Since I never finished that other birthday-eve blog post, we've moved on. Now I have many photos of celebration and joy that are still too recent to be nostalgic. ;)

We had an adventurous day for our playful little rambler. We filled the day with everything she likes. From snowman pancakes for breakfast to free play, a trip to the library, and then all the way down to the mall just to encounter our dearest friend: the carousel!

Darin worked the first half of the day, and Nana joined us for a puddle-stomping rainy day trip to the library. 

We had some of the "My First Little House" books on hold. My girls are nuts for Laura and Mary and baby Carrie and all their fun times. The newest favorite (and how could it not be?!) is Dance at Grandpa's

After daddy got off work we took a stormy drive down the hill and after an energetic meal at Dos Coyotes...

 we headed to the Roseville Galleria, which as far as we know has our closest carousel. I really wish there was one up here in the hills somewhere because riding it is the girls' favorite treat in all the world, we talk about it afterwards for ages. 

Stop to play at the toddler area.

Let's go find the merry-go-round!

Here at last! There is great debate over which pony or animal they will ride. You may remember that Lucy only recently graduated from sitting on the bench, and does not prefer to go up and down. So she rode the tiger which is stationary. Polly was even resistant to the up-and-down ride this time, and had been talking a lot about the "belt" so you "not fall off" but I knew her fear was just instilled by Toot and not really from her own experience. So I talked her into it (my hand on her back the whole time of course) and she loved riding the pony she chose right next to Utah, who had come to join us! 

To convince them to get off the merry go round, we let them blow some coins (but now it's all digital style on a fancy credit card thingy) at the arcade. Everything has screens in front of their faces while they ride or play, from the "glo pony" to the race car ride. It's so annoying but they loved it.

Another ride on the tiny musical merry-go-round with just enough seats for the three of them. and no screens or video games, just plain and simple.

Darin took these photos in the mirrors above, and I love her little swirl of hair that is still so very pixie-ish.

Back at home it was getting past bedtime but the family gathered for some cake and candles and a few little presents. Utah, Lucy, Polly and Scout all gathered round, enraptured with it all.

Scouty LOVES a good party hat.

Loving on our tired little two year old who never ever wants to go to bed these days. 

A few days later it was Utah's birthday too and Addie and I threw Utah and Polly a joint unicorn party (his request.) I made the cardboard unicorns, testing my drawing abilities (I've never been able to get proportions right on a horse.) Here we are setting up the table moments before everyone arrives, because that's how we roll. always.

Polly woke up from her nap just in time. Here she is with Darin's mom (noni) in a party daze.

Seasoned partyer.

Utah is three!

It was sunny so the kids played outside! A little cold but they didn't mind. Once Art's family arrived (he has like ten siblings, most of them still kids) that really helped the party scene. Those kids ran ragged outside! And were so polite when they did come in. He has a really great family.

Happy birthday to two well-loved little kids! Thanks for being ours, and starting our new year out right.

I wish you all great joy and fulfillment in 2016!


Milla Bear said…
That went by so fast, you guys <3 I love these shots of these two girls having what is just the most magical childhood of all. I feel so so blissed and honored to know you and to get to vicariously party with your lovely magical family, Heather. Happy Happy Merry Merry!
Holly said…
What a beautiful way to celebrate her special day.
Rachel Weaver said…
Your opening pulled at my heart ferociously. Sometimes time passing and children growing feels like the most painful ful part of being a human.
Happy new year to you and yours. May it be filled with love, light, and laughter.
missadie said…
oh honey I haven't checked your blog in so long! I love your January professor post... and then I saw this one. Thank you for always documenting life so carefully. Love you!

Angela Navejas said…
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