My “baby” is 19 today!

Gulp. 19 years old. Can you remember being 19? It doesn’t seem like that long ago. I can remember being pregnant with Jenny and daydreaming about PTA meetings, driving her to school, and worrying about her being a teenager all the while having no clue what parenting was really going to be like. But the moment I held her, I was smitten and everything just fell into place. I was meant to be her mom.

Jenny has turned into the most amazing young person I know, and I’m not just saying that because she’s my daughter. She stands up for what she believes in and I have to tell you that in this society, that is a very brave thing. She is smart, caring, and kind. She loves generously and has a playful soul. I’m so happy she came home from college this weekend so we could celebrate her birthday with the whole family. Saturday morning we went over to the high school for an arts and crafts show because Santa was going to be there taking photos. Anna and Dominic both got to talk with Santa and get a photo tho’ I couldn’t talk Jenny into sitting on Santa’s lap too. 😉

I did get a nice photo of Jenny and Chris together! Aren’t they cute?

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And one of Jenny alone.

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After we got back from that, we were waiting on Curtis to finish a conference call so Jenny could open her presents. So I had the little ones start on some homework and Jenny joined in too. They look soooo bored!

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Finally it was time for presents! The whole family chipped in together to get Jenny one big gift with some accessories… a new Nook!

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She was so surprised, she had NO idea what she was getting. This girl loves to read more than anyone I’ve ever met in my entire life. She always has a stack of books and magazines with her. Needless to say, she loved the gift! 🙂

Here she is checking it out. Nana gave her a generous gift certificate for some ebooks.

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My mom usually makes all of our family’s birthday cakes from scratch. This was a four-layer (!) white cake with homemake vanilla almond frosting. Yum!!!

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Jenny making a wish before blowing out her candles. I wonder what she wished for?

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Then it was off to the Cameron Park Zoo in Waco! My camera battery died part way through the trip, but Curtis brought the D40 along so I took a few photos with that as well as my D300.

The giraffe enclosure at the zoo affords a wonderful view with no fences or glass in the way. Curtis broke off a leafy branch and was holding it out to this giraffe so I snapped this photo of him looking at us. Doesn’t he look like a bat or a little kid? I love his expression!

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The little orangutan walking in the sunshine.

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This old orangutan was eating grass near the fence. I was captivated by his hand grabbing onto the fence. Look at his fingernails! So human-like.

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The lion was majestic!

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This lioness heard a helicopter overhead and looked up to find it.

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There was only a thin sheet of plexiglass separating this lion from us! Wow! What a view!!!

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Chris and Dominic sitting on the park bench at the Cameron Park Zoo in Waco. I have a better shot of them techncially where there’s no head and hand chop but I love their expressions in this one and I’m a sucker for close-ups.

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There was an area in the zoo with bells and chimes and one section had them built into the ground. Each of my children took a turn dancing on the bells and this shot is of Jenny’s big finish!

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One of my favorite shots from the zoo. Look how Dominic has his hand protectively wrapped around Anna’s arm. Awww!

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So I want to say Happy 19th Birthday to my sweet Jenny!!! I love you sweetheart. Here are 19 things I love about you right now:

1. You smile a lot.
2. You have the best laugh I’ve ever heard.
3. You love your family.
4. You don’t cave to peer pressure.
5. You are brave.
6. You get excited by little things.
7. You always smell good.
8. You work hard and study hard.
9. You don’t talk badly about people.
10. You adore your siblings.
11. You adore your boyfriend.
12. You appreciate gifts.
13. You are a first adopter of technology.
14. You have an amazing music library.
15. You are empathetic.
16. You are really, really pretty (I know that’s superficial but I’m your mom so I can say it).
17. You are a voracious reader and always have a book to recommend.
18. You talk to me about everything.
19. You are my best friend.

Happy Birthday, Angel!

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