Birthday Portraits

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Trying to get a good picture of a two year old is really hit or miss, so on her birthday, I was snapping my shutter basically nonstop, trying to get a good one. I think this one above takes the cake, but I think the rest these photos really show how much this young lady likes to move. She has been trying to teach herself to jump for months now, and finally she got acquainted with a trampoline, which has made all the difference. This weekend, she was basically jumping from dawn until dusk. On the trampoline, on the floor, on the couch, on the road. She didn’t even try to land on her feet. It seemed to be even more fun to pull up her knees, and land on her seat. And every second of in-the-air and hitting-the-ground was laughter.

And I guess if I had to sum up what Eliza is right now at two years old, she is just that: movement and laughter. She is always asking to go running, hiking, jumping, dancing, camping. She loves being outside and she loves building tents inside. She is an affectionate sweetheart, always asking how are you doing, did you have a good nap, did you have a good shower, did you have a good privacy, do you need a hug, do you need a bandaid? She knows what makes her feel good and valued and she is ever giving of that to others as well.

The birthday was spent at the Merkley cabin in Strawberry, AZ. Her British uniform from last year’s birthday doubled as her patriotic outfit for the 4th of July weekend this year. Last year we went strawberry picking on Eliza’s birthday, and we thought it was so great we should make it an annual birthday tradition. This year was in the town of Strawberry, so we’re calling it close enough.  She did get to do feed some animals on her birthday, which is probably Eliza’s second favorite activity, after feeding herself fresh strawberries. There were horses at a neighboring property and a goat and llama farm up the road.

She met lots of cousins and second cousins, many of whom I haven’t seen in years, and a few whom I met for the first time myself. Eliza still gets overwhelmed in crowds and is slow to warm up to people. This weekend in particular, she had some emotional breakdowns over sharing toys with a second cousin a year older than her.

But lots of cousins also made for a great chorus singing “Happy birthday” with cake and ice cream, and of course candles. She was talking about birthday cake for weeks afterward.

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Matt and I also took advantage of the free babysitting and went on a hike of our own.  We got to this first vantage point and said we were going to hike through the valley to that point in the picture below where the cliffs pop out above the pines. So we did, and that’s where we took the final two photos, below.

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