April 3, 2013

Happy Birthday!

Today is my oldest daughter's 18th birthday! I don't know where the time went. (Fair warning: I am going to preen like a peacock.) I can still remember the hours she would spend working on her homework at the kitchen table when she was only in elementary school. I can still see her face, concentrating so hard and so determined, when she rode her bike without training wheels for the first time. She has at least a dozen different laughs, sounds, and faces that bring me joy and make me laugh out loud every day. And I can remember the day we had her senior pictures taken last fall. Her real beauty just beamed from the inside out. I cried that day because someone else got to see her for her true self. This is what Kristen of K. Lenox Photography wrote on her blog post after the shoot.

"Wow. I don't know what to say.  Yes... [she] is simply stunning, gorgeous long blond hair, innocent blue eyes,  buttermilk skin and a smile to die for,  but that is just the beginning.  In the short time I worked with [her], I also noticed she is one of the most sweet girls I've ever met.  Despite her beauty.. she is so modest,  kind and again... ever so sweet."  

"You know, I honestly feel that the camera captures more than just pictures.  It honestly shows personality and yes.... the soul. When you take pictures of an honest, good hearted person, I truly feel that is what the camera sees.  With [her] images... that is definitely the case.  Most of her images, you see, the modest, bashful beauty that she really is... on the inside.  One that is fun loving, easy going, and truly a good hearted person. And I just adored the way she and her mother interacted.  I can see where she gets it!"

I couldn't have said it any better.

These past few months, she's been applying to colleges (6 letters of acceptance so far) and trying to figure out what the next four years will bring. She wants to work with children, so she'll be majoring in elementary education for the time being. She adored working with the pre-school children at a local daycare this past fall, and she's worked with down syndrome and special needs children as well.

And speaking of her senior photo, she chose this one for the yearbook, and I bet you a million dollars that everyone will be shocked. But this is who she is. She is funny, silly, caring, loving, and yes, oh-so sweet when she lets her guard down. She is part of a matching set of sisters that I can't imagine being broken up. They're a duo act. I am so blessed, there are no words.

So... Happy, happy birthday my lovely girl. I'm so proud of you.

And on a much, much lighter note... This is the recipe I used for her birthday cake. My daughter found it online and we tweaked it a bit. It's the best cake I've ever tasted and oh, so easy to make.

Heavenly Chocolate Cake
2 cups white sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups water
1 cup vegetable oil (we used canola)
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a large bowl, mix all of the dry ingredients together.
3. Add all wet ingredients and beat by hand until smooth.
4. Bake for approximately 40 minutes. (I used two 8" round cake pans and baked them for 30 minutes.)
I cheated and frosted it with Betty Crocker whipped milk chocolate frosting and topped it with 18 pink candles.


Kristen516 said...

What a beautiful commentary for a beautiful girl. happy birthday and good luck with the college decision.

Kimberly Merritt said...

Thank you, Kristen. :o)

And thank you to all who send their well wishes via Facebook and email. I appreciate it!