cameron's second birthday!

As I write this, Cameron is completely and utterly consumed driving a Hot Wheels car carrier around the living room. He recently moved on to that after using his Bruder Loader Backhoe to move around a Thomas the Train engine

He loves toys. Things with wheels, especially. But his love for toys is pretty remarkable (particularly after I'd been used to a first child who was only rarely vaguely amused by something manufactured especially for children). 

Yesterday, we celebrated Cameron. It's always nice when a birthday falls on a weekend day, so we can all be together as a family. 

We started the day with sprinkle waffles and two kids delighted with a ride-in water-spraying fire truck thanks to Grandpa. We attempted to go to the Children's Museum, but didn't realize there was a trick-or-treat event happening (side note: is it just me or do there seem to be an excessive number of opportunities to celebrate an already excessive holiday?) so we enjoyed some fresh air and sunshine at Jefferson Park instead. 

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After Cam's naptime, serious celebrations commenced. More presents (thanks, all!) and then Auntie Al and Uncle "Jay-bit" arrived for a mango lemonade cheers and pasta dinner.

Cam was so enthralled with his new toys, that even shouting "cupcakes!?" elicited no response. So finally we decided to just light the candles and sing "happy birthday." Once he saw a double-decker cupcake coming his way, he knew what was up and wasted no time blowing out the candles ("I blew out candles!"). He put away an impressive amount of cupcakes and ice cream (homemade banana chip!) before diving back into playing. 

I found myself wanting to video the entire evening, because everything that came out of Cameron's mouth made me smile. He excitedly exclaimed "Daddy's pasta!" at dinner. He yelled "boom shaka-laka" at one point; not sure why. He can express himself better and better each day, and it's fantastic to hear his thoughts. He regularly says "thank you, mommy," which totally melts my heart.

He had trouble falling asleep after all the excitement, but had a purple Hot Wheel in one hand and Thomas the Train in the other. He woke up this morning asking for his loader and car carrier. "Keep playing!" is his mantra. We love you Cameron!

summer in denver :: highlights

The weather recently has still been too hot for my liking, but there are sure signs of fall all around. Leaves are changing, and the mornings are full of crisp air. I did a terrible job blogging about our summer adventures...I probably have one more post to do about our trip to Vermont, but until I can get around to doing that, I wanted to post some miscellaneous pictures from the summer months.

^^homemade ice cream; delicious.^^

^^many of our summer days looked like this.^^

^^bocce and pizza in the park!^^

^^summer haircut + pizza afterwards.^^

^^denver chalk art festival.^^

^^few things are more fun than the fountains at union station.^^

^^willa's 4th birthday!^^

^^bbqs at my sister's house are always fun + yay for a rare family photo!^^

^^willa asked for a kite for her birthday. windy days aren't frequent, but we've gotten it up in the air a few times!^^

^^fun with nana!^^

^^we hit the pools pretty hard this summer.^^

^^summer nights.^^

^^friends. thank goodness for friends. and park picnic playdates.^^

^^the color run. super fun.^^

^^the day we biked to cherry creek to buy a deep fryer.^^

^^the donuts we made with the fryer.^^

^^and just like that, summer was over. back to school!^^

our willa bean is 4

It's late (almost 10pm!) and it's been a long but wonderful day of celebrating our dear Willa. We planned to keep it low-key this year but somehow it felt anything but that, but in all the right celebratory ways. Willa was thrilled.

We had a birthday party in the park yesterday with cupcakes and donuts and a bubble maker and a Minnie Mouse piñata. And for the first time ever, her scrooge mother didn't write "no gifts please" on the invitation so she got a boatload of amazing gifts, several of them of the Frozen variety. Princess Elsa 4eva.

And her Nana's in town.

Her Uncle got her a stuffed skunk with pink sparkly eyes. She loves skunks. Almost as much as Elsa. Sometimes more. Depends on the day.

And today we took a trip to her favorite park and she didn't even care that the train and petting zoo were closed or that a thunderstorm rolled in after 20 minutes of playing in the stream.

After that we went to see chickens and get fresh eggs at Auntie Al's work.

Once home, she and her brother ate a whole pint of raspberries in the backyard and then she watched The Cat and the Hat on the couch in minimal clothing.

We made pizza for dinner and she squealed when daddy threw the dough high up in the air. She got more presents.

I made her a "pink lady" cake with strawberries and as soon as she saw the strawberries smashed to the sides she ran over with arms spread wide and gave me a huge hug and told me it was the best cake ever.

Mid-cake eating we realized there was a rainbow in front of the house. Not a mini one, but a real-deal all the way across the sky one. She jumped up and down and said she "just knew" there'd be one on her birthday. Later she said it was the best gift she received for her birthday.

She used her newfound four-year-old strength to drag her mini trampoline upstairs and bounced on it for a good hour to burn off pizza and cake and present-induced excitement.

She got to stay up until 9pm. Wearing a glow bracelet from Nana and Bobo.

She makes us laugh and smile and sigh and scream and I can't imagine what our life would be like without the joy she brings to it each and every day. Happy birthday, Willa!

a happy birthday brunch for our three year old!

Willa turned three last week!

So far, I'm not sure what to make of this age. It's so hot and cold. Up and down. She's the cutest little girl EVER and then moments later she is so naughty. But I know it's all part of her development, and I'm doing my best to take deep breaths and be patient and supportive as she's learning.

She's working on being a big sister. She loves her little brother and enjoys having him around. She will say, "Hi little buddy!" when he wakes up from a nap, and if he's fussing, she'll say, "It's ok Cameron!" and then tell him something about what's going on. She has trouble sharing her toys with him. She often grabs things away from him. But she'll occasionally bring him a toy to play with, and she loves to share her food with him while they're at the table eating.

My favorite thing about Willa at this stage are our conversations. She loves to ask me questions. Lately we've been talking a lot about "workers" and what they build. She started with, "Mama, did workers build our house?" And now she asks if workers have built other things. The other day we were driving somewhere and she asked me to explain how the workers built our car. You can feel her mind working.

She remembers details and events of things we did so long ago. I am always surprised when she reminds me of them weeks or months later. She can carry on a conversation so well. It blows me away. She is getting so tall and so smart. I feel proud of the beautiful and inquisitive little girl she is growing into. She challenges and delights me each day.

Her birthday was a wonderful day! We were lucky to have family in town to celebrate and we threw a little brunch shindig with friends, donuts, cake, and an inflatable pink picture frame (Is that what we call it? No idea. But it was fun!).

^^"Mango cake!" For weeks before her birthday, Willa was telling everyone that she was going to have a mango cake. We weren't sure exactly what a mango cake was, but opted for vanilla cake with mango custard in the middle and buttercream frosting. It was delicious. Willa might have ruined her appetite with donuts, but I certainly enjoyed it. Huge thanks to the pastry chef! ;)^^

^^Cam slept for the first half of the party, but woke up and put on his party pants. He tried some snacks and was super excited to meet his Uncle Mike!^^

^^An inflatable pink frame = possibly the best $1.99 I've ever spent at Goodwill.^^