Monday, December 26, 2011

The Lights

On December 26th, we ventured downtown to see the lights with Heather+Peter and family and Peter's sisters and their families.  It was the perfect opportunity to see the lights as Temple Square seemed a little less crowded than it does on any given night before Christmas.  We got there in the late afternoon and the early evening light made it another perfect opportunity to try out my new lens.
Clara was all bundled and ready for the cold
Family photo by the reflecting pool and nativity

Cute Richardson girl cousins - such sweet and lovely girls

Henry, Zach, Jed

Lights reflecting

Hadsome husband (though a bit blurry)

The view from the top floor of the Joseph Smith Memorial Building

Cute Harriet
Jed trying to earn a smile from his cousin


Not sure what they were doing to Clara here, but it must have been amusing


Richardsons, Coes, and Halls

Just One Year

During the first year time seems so fleeting.  Babies change quickly and it's impossible to keep them in any given stage for more than a few days.  All around you are reminders that the time will pass quickly - even a line of Carter's clothing is appropriately named "just one year" (although Clara being on the small side, will still be wearing these for a few months yet).  When her birthday arrived we could hardly believe it.  What a year it has been - probably the happiest yet for our family.  We love our sweet baby girl and feel so blessed to be her parents!

For her big day, my only hope was to have her know that it was a special day.  And happily, I think she caught on right away!  As soon as she woke up, Spencer and I sang her Happy Birthday (this happened several times throughout the day) and she just smiled and giggled and danced and clapped.  We snuggled in bed for a while, had a peekaboo session and then headed to breakfast at IHOP with Aunt Carol and Clara's cousins Harriet, Jed and Henry.  She loves pancakes, so it was a perfect birthday breakfast.
Breakfast @ IHOP - not having the best hair day and super glazed-over from trying to squeeze a special breakfast in when she's usually napping
 Clara had a nap while Spencer and I spent the afternoon making the final preparations for her party that evening.  Things were definitely low key as far as parties go, but it was loosely based around a red, pink and white snowflake theme.  I saw an idea to make snowflake garlands a few days before the party, so that was our main decoration with some pink, red and white balloons.  Clara got a kick out of the balloons.
My mom and I made red velvet cupcakes on Friday with white chocolate snowflakes to go on top (super easy).  Clara had her own mini cake (I baked it in ramekins) as well.  I also decided last minute to make her a special little outfit for her party.  She had a cute tulle skirt attached to some leggings, a cupcake appliqued onesie and a party hat.  These were all super easy and hardly cost a thing to throw together.  The decor was complete when Clara's cousins showed up with a cute snowflake birthday banner they made for her. 

We had a great little family party with both sets of Clara's grandparents, Aunt Carol, and Aunt Heather and Uncle Peter and their kids who were in town from California.  Clara was definitely the star of the night.  After dinner we sang her Happy Birthday (yet again) and helped her blow out her candle.  She approached her cake much like she approaches cheerios - shoving handfuls in her mouth until she could hardly chew or swallow.  She burrowed a little hole in her cake and was not shy - she definitely enjoyed it!  After a few minutes I took it away, afraid that she might overindulge and get sick.  
Patiently waiting for her cake

Going to town on the red velvet!
The occasion was well documented.

What was left when I finally took the cake away.
When we all finished cake and hot cocoa, Clara opened her gifts. She got some great new books and toys, but I think her favorite gifts were clothes!  She loves clothes and will hardly let you pry a hanger from her fingers.  

After gifts we headed to the basement to watch a little movie I put together of Clara's first year.  It really just skims the surface of the footage we have of her - she is a very well documented little girl. But it was so fun to look back and see just how much she has grown and changed in the last 12 months.  

I have gotten SO many comments about how unfortunate it is that her birthday is on Christmas Eve.  People throw out unsolicited suggestions to celebrate her birthday in the summer or have something in January to commemorate the day.  But I have to say this was one of my favorite Christmas Eves ever (perhaps only comparing to last year when I had a brand new baby to snuggle).  I thought the whole day was just perfect.  Clara is a very special little girl and we love her so much.  Being her mother is one of the greatest joys in my life!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Christmas Clara

Today I was wrapping gifts (is it terrible that I wrapped most of Clara's gifts right in front of her?) and I decided to wrap up a box and then put her inside for a little photo shoot.  Happily she obliged and I got a few really cute shots.  So perfect for our little Christmas baby!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

the roaring twenties

A new decade has begun!  Last week I moved (effortlessly) from my twenties to my thirties.  As I've thought about the past ten years of my life - my twenties - I can't help but be thankful and a bit amazed at what an action-packed time of life it was.

This is mostly just for me - but here's a little summary of what happened in my twenties:


Studied Art History in England, Scotland, The Netherlands, Belgium, France, and Italy
Served an 18-month LDS mission in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Learned Portuguese
Traveled to Brazil, Czech Republic, Belgium, Spain, Greece, Switzerland, Germany, Holland, England, France, Austria
Biked Vermont with my dad
Lived in Clifton, Virginia; Provo, Utah; Portland, Oregon; New York, New York; Brussels, Belgium; Salt Lake City, Utah
Taught at the MTC in Provo
Graduated from Brigham Young University (debt free!)
Got internships at Nike, Euro RSCG, Mediaedge:cia, Obelis s.a. (managed to get paid or get a stellar job offer out of each one)
Got my first full time job
Fell in love
Bought my first car
Got married in the Salt Lake Temple
Honeymooned in Hawaii
Lost my job
Started my own business
Bought a house
Became a mother to a darling baby girl
Traveled to California, Oregon, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah
Visited lots of National Parks: Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, Zion, Arches, Canyonlands
Ran my first (and second and third) half marathon
Went on a cruise to the Bahamas

It's hard to imagine that any other decade will compare, but I hear that life just keeps getting better.  So here's to that!

just some thoughts

Some nights, long after Clara is in bed, Spencer and I will sit at the computer and just look and look at pictures of her.  We can't help it; we miss her while she's dreaming in the next room.  It's hard to believe that she'll be a whole year old in less than two weeks.  I feel like this year has whizzed by with remarkable speed and despite my best efforts to hold on to every moment of her babyhood, our little girl is growing so fast.  She's already taken her first steps (only a few) and stands unsupported for longer spells each day.

I look at photos like this one and think, "oh, what happened to that round little face? and those jolly little cheeks?"
May 9, 2011
Her cheeks may have thinned out a bit, but her sweetness is ever growing.  Clara's never been an ultra-cuddly baby.  She rarely sleeps in our arms and most snuggles are reserved for when she's feeling shy around new faces.  But lately as she's grown a bit more attached to her blanket, she'll snuggle right into my shoulder after a nap.  I'll lift her out of her crib and she'll gently but deliberately pat my back as she lays her head on my shoulder.  It is, perhaps, the sweetest part of my day.
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