My sweet Ava Lacey turned 5 in July. I am overwhelmed with the joy she brings me everyday. I love to watch life and wonder unfold in her. To be honest though, the thought of her growing older and well, more independent, is a bit sad to me. I don't think i'm the only mommy who feels that way. I hope not anyway. I told her that she wasn't allowed to get older than four... she didn't listen. And not only that but she is so excited to grow older that the day after her fourth party she was already planning her fifth birthday party. Down to the guest list and decorations. She is so funny! I guess I'll let her get older. I don't have a choice do I? And I know i'm going to enjoy it anyhow. Every year is a new adventure with a more well-rounded, beautiful little person. I am so blessed. And so thankful that God gave her to us. And even though I do enjoy these little years I also daydream of the day when I see her married and hold her first baby (among other milestones I get to share with her). So for this shoot I wanted to capture a bit of her spirit. I hope to have these when I'm old and gray and to be able to recall all the little things that made her sparkle at five. Like when she concentrates or thinks something is silly she sticks out her tongue. Glad I caught that on camera. Or when she puts on that lavender dress she instantly feels so beautiful you can see it in the way she carries herself. Or when she finds a flower to pick she is so determined. You can't tell her she can't do something, she won't believe you. She "knows" she can. I love that about her. In our house we tell her she is "small but mighty". She now says that to her brother when he challenges her with something. So funny. Her voice is so small and sweet but get her excited and you've never heard anything so squeaky! It's amazing how much squeak she produces. lol! Her legs are so little but she moves them so fast it's hard for anyone to keep up, and she runs almost everywhere she goes. Her husband will need a power chair to keep up with her when she's shopping. She is so independent yet she'll want to have cuddle time with me every night. She loves to dress pretty but also loves the dirt. I enjoy dressing her so much and I would usually be a panic mess about her getting stains on her nice clothes. (they are so expensive these days!) But I've realized that my enjoying how she's dressed isn't her fault. I need to let her get dirty and if that means wrecking her clothes so she has fun and I can still enjoy her cuteness then so be it! She's only little once. Anyway, if you've made it this far thank you for sticking around and listening to my mommy ramblings. Her and big brother are really what this is all about for me.