Cleo Kalene Cheney you are TWO…tomorrow!

“The days are long but the years are short.” Never have truer words been spoken.

I’m going to be honest, right up front. I’ve tried several times to write this. I’ve been brainstorming ideas of what to talk about, or what to discuss about what’s coming tomorrow morning with the change of your age. The truth is, I’m winging this one. I’ve come up with nothing specific, nothing life altering, or even new that you do. I’m just here to express my love for my sweet daughter on the eve of your second birthday. And to post a ton of freakin’ pictures of you and probably give myself the worst baby fever.

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You were born at 9:57pm weighing 9lbs and were 20.5 inches long. You were the more difficult labor and delivery of my two. It was a sign, I know that now. You are more stubborn than your brother and way more strong willed. And, that’s okay. Nothing happens that is not on Cleo time. We’re working on it, kind of..if I’m being honest.

You are named after my Great Grandma, Cleo…or Granny, as our family calls her. Granny passed before I ever had the chance to meet her. From the stories I have been told she was an amazing woman. She was loving, nurturing, kind and strong. Your Grammy always laughs because so far, you and Granny are very different in your temperaments. And yet, when I describe you I use the same adjectives as anybody probably would to describe her.

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You were greeted the day after your birth by Aunts, Grandparents, cousins, friends and most of all a really excited big brother. You had to be monitored an extra night in the hospital due to a concern with some discolored spit up. I was nervous at the time but also as a second time Mom, I welcomed all the extra help from the nurses and staff. When it was time for us to be discharged, I was still like, “but do we have to leave??”

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We were still living in California when you were born. It was actually cool the day we took you home. I distinctly remember feeling like you were a fall baby, ha! You were such a good newborn. You slept great, for the most part. You nursed well. You loved being held, still do. The first thing I noticed about you was how much you resembled your brother at birth. I’m not kidding, the first words I ever spoke to you were “Oh my gosh, you look just like your brother!” I’ll never forget that. You had, and still have, the most perfect lips I’ve ever seen on a newborn. You were here. You were finally in my arms!

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Fast forward two years…minus one day. You radiate JOY!! You light up every room you walk into. You’re usually smiling and running somewhere, but sometimes you like to cautiously take in your surroundings. You are definitely the princess of the house. You are sassy but also warm, loving, strong and silly. You love to play scary. You are the center of attention everywhere you go. Were working on that, kind of. You enjoy the heck out of some good snacks. You are obsessed with baby dolls and horsey’s. You love your Daddy and Bubba fiercely, but I’m still the one for you.

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Everywhere you go you’ve always got an entourage. Your two year old birthday shoot was no different.

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There is not anything you would ever have to do for yourself between your Grandparents, cousins, Daddy and brother. But, you really are very independent. You like to brush your teeth by yourself, you try to get dressed and put your shoes on by yourself and you can almost buckle your harness by yourself. You are still a mimi (pacifier) and bottle baby. I don’t see those going anywhere anytime soon. (Your TT’s are totally reading this thinking “we’ll see about that!” haha)

When I found out I was pregnant with you I knew you were a girl. I kept trying to prepare myself to hear those words, “It’s a GIRL!” You see, I was a boy mom through and through. As much as I wanted a girl, I wasn’t sure how knowing I was about to have one would really settle with me. Crazy, I know.

God knew exactly what I needed, what our family needed, when He sent us you. You have made me grow as Mom and a woman. I know more than ever who I want to be because of you and your brother. I want to be the Mom you know loves you unconditionally, but didn’t lose herself in that. I want you to know its okay to have opinions. It’s okay to stand up for yourself. It’s okay to try something new or stick with something you’ve always known. It’s okay to say no. It’s okay to say yes. It’s okay to be a strong female and still CHEER for the men in your life. It’s okay to get married. It’s okay if you don’t want too. It’s okay to be a stay at home Mom. It’s okay to have a career. MOST of all, it’s okay to want both. It’s okay to go to college and it’s okay if you choose a different path. It’s okay to be different. It’s okay to standout. It’s okay to blend in. Most of all my sweet girl, nobody gets to define YOU!! Not society, not Daddy, not Bubba, not Me.

The only thing in this world that I will always pray that you know to be true and to receive more than anything else, is your Savior’s love. For I know you will never be lost with Him. I pray you always seek Him in every situation. I pray Daddy and I can give you the strongest foundation to grow your relationship with Him on. I pray that you always find comfort in Him when you’re lonely, strength in Him when you’re weak, peace in Him when you’re anxious or worried. I pray you always know He is with you! You are always loved.

So, Happy Birthday my sweet sweet girl. You are one of God’s greatest gifts to me. I rejoice and celebrate that and YOU, today and everyday!