Hazel turned 2 and I can't believe it.

 We picked her name from a street sign, no joke. I thought it was a lovely and unique name, but it took some time for Nate to agree. When he met her, he knew she couldn't be named anything but Hazel!

It's weird that her birth was only two years ago and that it's also already been two years. Time is doing this weird surging thing; it's ebbing and flowing and I can't seem to keep up. My little Miss B. is two and she's quick to tell you so when you ask! Or she is once you convince her that you do understand that her name is Hazel, yes, Hazel Banks, okay, I understand.

She's a chatty chatty girl these days, but the upside is that I can finally understand most of what she says! Actually, I don't think that's a fair statement. I'm her mom and it's pretty obvious that the parents can understand their kids' baby talk better than anyone else on the planet. What I should say is that other people can understand Hazel as well as I do now. Wahoo! Hazel is one smart cookie.

At her pediatrician appointment on her birthday, the wonderful Dr. Mooney had a conversation with Hazel about a book she was looking at. Hazel had shoved the book into Dr. Mooney's lap for her to read, so Dr. Mooney picked it up and showed Hazel a picture of a little kid sitting in his high chair at lunchtime. She asked Hazel, "What's the little boy doing?" I think the response she was looking for was something like, "Eating," or, "Drinking." Hazel answered, "The little baby is drinking his cup of milk." Dr. Mooney was shocked.

 Hazel routinely asks for stories and songs, especially CHRISTMAS MUSSEEK! She loves moobies, or I mean movies, especially the "Lion King" (which apparently can be either Simba or Aslan, doesn't matter much so long as there's a lion involved).

Miss Hazel arrived into this world on November 22, 2008. I'll let you take a look in the archives to read about her birth. She came out beautiful, entered the funny looking newborn stage shortly after birth, and then grew into my Chunky Monkey. She's getting so old and big girlish now! She's not so little anymore. Of course she's still a toddler but then that goes back to two years have passed already and only two years have passed. That stinkin' ebb and flow.

We celebrated her birthday with some friends and family here at Rick and Karen's house. We didn't use our room - we used the upstairs. It was a tight fit with everything in transition, but really it worked very well, much more smoothly than I'd been anticipating. Hazel was stoked that so many of her very favorite people were in the same room. She didn't really know what to do with herself!

She raced around to see everyone and then got down to the business of playing. Rae Ann made a gorgeous pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting. It was so heavy and decadent. She gave me crap about how many candles I used on the cake, but who says you  have to use a number dependent on the birthday kid's age? I indulged by using a large number of orange candles. I think it looked wonderful!

We snacked on appetizers and chatted for awhile before cutting the cake. Hazel blew out her own candles and I was so proud of her! She put some really focused effort into it and did an amazing job.

Following cake cutting and eating, we opened presents. Hazel seemed to grasp the idea quickly: Rip off the ribbons and paper and there's something pretty cool inside! She had a blast and "oohed" and "ahhed" over all her gifts.

Here are some pictures from the party:

 [Karen with Hazel and her birthday balloons.]

[Tutu and Miss B.] 

[Friend Heather and Henta with Piper.] 

 [Lighting the candles with Amanda & Lilu, Stella and Ivy watching on. Oh and Hazel.]

[Hazel watching the candles as they burned.] 

[Down to one lit candle! She was a wind machine!] 

[Opening some presents.] 

[Riding her new hip-hip-hippo with Indira.] 

[She stole Rae Ann's piece of cake and walked away with it. Dad spotted her eating alone in the middle of floor.]

I'm still stumped at how we got to this point. I'm amazed at her growth and I feel blessed every time I look at Hazel. She is growing really well by the grace of God. He has given us a very special girl in Hazel Elaine! She's happy and cheerful, loving and obedient (with her moments of tantrum throwing, of course). She brings everyone around her such joy. She's independent and organized (believe it or not). She loves to wear pretty clothes and have her nails painted. She announces when she has done a no-no and takes us to the scene of the crime. She loves to play pretend with her dollies and her kitchen stuff. She reads to us and reminds us of her favorite parts in any book. She's helpful with picking up her messes. She loves to take baths and run/fly.

I am so in love. And I am so blessed.

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