Whew! What a trip. We’re finally home and settled after our 6-day road trip. Thirteen hours spent on the road, four cities (and families) visited, but it was all worth it! We loved every moment of our trip and all the Christmas celebrations. We made out like bandits with some incredibly generous gifts (thank you all again!) — especially J since he was celebrating both Christmas and his first birthday!
Monday (Christmas Eve and J’s birthday) fell smack-dab in the middle of our road trip, so we spent his birthday at my parents’ house. Soon after we woke up that morning, we grabbed the iPad and the baby to take a picture at 8:50 a.m. Here he is at precisely one year old!
We kept the guest list for J’s first party very small for a number of reasons, but primarily because of his personality. He really clams up when there are lots of unfamiliar faces around. He usually doesn’t fuss, but he does get very quiet and wants me to hold him the whole time. The party was made up of his parents, aunt, both sets of grandparents, and two of his great-grandmothers, which meant that J was comfortable and everyone there was able (and thrilled) to focus all their attention on the guest of honor!
Many thanks to my mom and sister for their help preparing for and hosting the party! The only real decorations were 12 balloons in our three party colors (based on the shirt I made him a couple of weeks ago). J quickly discovered that when he pulled on the strings, the balloons would move up and down. He seemed to really like them. We also put out pictures of me and D on our first birthdays.
We served cut fruit, turkey sandwiches, shrimp with cocktail sauce, brie en croute with crackers, and sweet tea. We tried to include some baby-friendly foods that adults could enjoy as well, and I think we definitely succeeded. It was all delicious!
After we were all stuffed, J opened his gifts. He got lots of sweet gifts for his birthday, but the best was celebrating with some of those who love him most! Somehow, we didn’t get a picture of his gifts, but they included money (which will go straight into his college fund), books, clothes, and toys.
Next was the moment we were all waiting for — time for cupcakes!
Aunt S made the delicious cupcakes — strawberry cake with buttercream frosting. She dyed the (previously pink) cake orange to fit in with the color scheme and to make it less girly.
Cake-smashing is always an anticipated activity at first birthday parties, but we weren’t entirely sure what J would do with his cupcake. For one thing, we’ve never given him sweets before (though I did recently find out he had had cookies at daycare…). And since J is so deliberate and careful with his actions, I didn’t know whether he would Hulk-smash the cake or even touch it at all. Only one way to find out…
I unwrapped the cupcake and set it down in front of J, and he carefully picked it up and took a little piece off the side. Cautiously, he brought it to his mouth, and… Well — surprise, surprise — J loved it! He squeezed the cupcake in his other hand and devoured it.
After the cupcake, J was an absolute mess (as he should be — “it’s his party, he’ll make a mess if he wants to…”), so my mom and I rushed him to the bathtub. A clean (albeit naked) kiddo came back for a last round of photos with partygoers before they departed.
The party was an absolute blast, and even though J had no idea what was going on, he obviously had fun, too! I’m so glad we were all able to celebrate together, amid the Christmas craziness.
A twelve-month update post is coming… but I may wait until after J’s doctor appointment on Wednesday so I can share stats, etc., so keep an eye out!