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A lot of people warned me that the second kid grows up a lot faster than the first. That may be true under normal circumstances, but to me, the last year has been the longest of my life. We moved out of our house when I was seven months pregnant. We moved about five times in the next six months. On the day Evelyn was born, we weren't even sure where we were going to take her when they discharged us. Fall brought my busiest season yet, and trying to finish a new construction home with a 0-5 month old wasn't exactly ideal.

So when I think back to that fateful day of Friday July 1, 2022, it honestly seems like a lifetime ago. I feel like Evelyn has always been a part of our family. She was that puzzle piece that we didn't even know was missing, but thank God His ways are higher than ours.

She is her brother's favorite person. The bond they already share is so special to watch. She's spunky, sassy and bossy, but she's equally as sweet, cuddly and fun. She was a much easier baby than her brother was, but I can already tell she’s going to be the one who will give us a run for our money as she grows. I’ve never ever seen a person who can only say about six words be able to communicate exactly what they want so clearly.

She loves Minnie Mouse, but she doesn’t like to watch her, only hug and kiss her stuffed ones. She eats like a grown man, yet she’s so tiny. She has a big, toothy grin that melts my heart. She looks exactly like her daddy’s baby pictures, but she did get my blue eyes that will probably get her out of a lot of trouble.

So how to choose a first birthday theme for such a baby? It was easy, actually. Four years ago, Josh and I ate supper with some of our friends. I was expecting Landon and they were also expecting a baby girl. They were explaining how they went about choosing names, and they said there was an E-name that they liked (although I don’t remember what it was) and Claire for a middle name. The dad-to-be then said, “But I said, 'We can’t name her that! She would be E. Claire.'” And although we could understand his not wanting to name his child a dessert, Josh and I secretly chuckled at each other knowing that if our baby was a girl, we would name her Evelyn Claire.

And so, the theme “Parisian bakery”was born. Welcome to E. Claire’s Patisserie & Cafe! I really wanted guests to feel like they were at a French market with all kinds of tasty treats and fresh flowers everywhere. I had some big plans for outside as well, but the rain washed them all away. Honestly, when the day was over, I didn’t even think about it because Evie had the best birthday party ever. Thanks to a million people that love her so much. Starting with Dianne, the floral magician at Mack-Mae Flower Farm. The help from Evie's grandparents was invaluable. Her aunts and uncles (and a couple of adopted aunts) were so much help, and a few of them made incredible drink servers. My village is the best.

Evie had a great time digging into her cake. Digging may be a stretch, she was very dainty about it. Maybe it was the crowd because she can make a bigger mess with fruit loops in her high chair. I, for one, had an amazing time taking it all in. Whether that be through my eyes or my camera. And because it was at my home, I got to take my sweet time practicing still and detail shots.

I had so much fun planning this celebration and I’m so thankful for Evie and all of the people who love her. I know watching this little girl grow up will be one of the greatest pleasures of my life.

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