I’m getting behind on what’s going on with us, so this post is a whole month late. The weather has been so nice that in our spare time I like to be outside instead of inside on the computer. So don’t take my whole “a post every 2 weeks” thing to seriously for the fun summer months.
Last month my baby turned 1! We didn’t do some big party for him. Some people do, and that’s totally fine. But we just didn’t see the point of going all out for a party he won’t remember. I wanted to share some of what I did do to celebrate his big day though. We had a little get together with our parents to open gifts and eat some traditional birthday food, you know, pizza and cake.
First off, Oliver loves to eat. So making a smash cake was high on my list of must-dos. I spent a lot of time Pinteresting and decided on a lemon blueberry cake. I made Oliver a little cake and made a dozen cupcakes with the leftover batter. I got the cake made on Friday so it could cool before we frosted it. While the cupcakes were cooling, and before they were in the fridge Dude managed to eat half of the cupcakes. He’s going through an awful faze of eating off the counter, it’s a real inconvenience. So, since I only had 6 cupcakes, I had to make another batch because 6 cupcakes is kind of a pathetic spread to offer at a birthday party, even if there’s only going to be 6 people there. Saturday morning we made the frosting and frosted everything. Mauricio got fancy with some frosting work and it was a fun thing for us do to together for Oliver. I won’t lie, I was pretty proud of how it turned out. I don’t exactly have an excellent track record for frosting cakes. If you’re frosting challenged like me I’ll let you in on the secret, put the cake in the fridge so it’s chilled before you frost it. Maybe that’s obvious to some of you, but I had no idea and it seriously made a huge difference!
I was super proud of the cake turnout, but when it came time for Oliver to smash his cake, he had basically no interest in it. I was shocked that my little eating machine wanted nothing to do with the entire cake sitting in front of him. I think the problem was I gave it to him too soon after dinner. Oliver may eat a lot, but he also knows when he’s full and if he’s full he doesn’t eat. So while the smash cake was a baking success, it was kind of an interactive fail. I’ll probably try again next year.
So since we weren’t having a party per-se I didn’t have a theme or anything like that, but I still wanted there to be a few special things to mark the big 1. A few weeks before Oliver’s birthday I ordered a bunch of pictures from his first year. I have about a million pictures of him on my phone, but none printed out. I use an app called freeprints, it gives you 100 free 5×7 pictures a month, you just have to pay shipping. I narrowed down all my pictures of Oliver to about 100 and got them printed. Once they came, I organized a bunch of them into a giant 1 on our chalkboard. I had a good vision in my mind about the project, but my visions don’t always come out they way I imagine. This time I was very pleased!
I absolutely loved looking back on the first year of Oliver’s life while putting it together and the end result was an adorable backdrop for some birthday pictures. I think this is something I want to continue as Oliver grows. Each birthday I’ll print a bunch of pictures from the previous year and form them into whatever age he’s turning. As an added bonus, it ensures that I actually print some pictures of our family, and they aren’t all just in a “cloud” somewhere for only me to ever see.
The main other thing I did/am doing for Oliver’s first birthday is the gifts I requested from people. Before you get the wrong idea, I didn’t make a list of things to get Oliver. I actually asked people to write Oliver a letter that he will open on his 18th birthday. Some of you may have seen the viral video of a girl opening letters from loved ones on her 18th birthday that went around a year or so ago. I saw it and absolutely loved the idea. So we asked friends and family to write a note, as big or as small as they wanted that could include advice, memories, pictures or anything they could think of. I just want Oliver to see all of the love that has surrounded him from the very beginning and I think this is such a fun way for him to see that. I know it’s a little awkward for people, but I truly appreciate the people who have taken the time to write him a little something. The hardest part about this plan is that some of the letters are in sealed envelopes, which means I can’t read them. It is so hard to just put them to the side and not be curious about what they say!
I’ll be completely honest, Oliver is 13 months now and I still haven’t finished my letter. I’ve started it about 5 times but haven’t gotten anything that I’m ready to seal and put away for 17 years. Also, as a side note, if any of you want to write something for Oliver I would love it! I wasn’t very good about getting letters to people explaining what I was doing, and I didn’t print enough copies. My point is, please don’t be offended if I didn’t get a letter to you, if you love Oliver and want to write him a little something I will fully accept it! Just let me know and I’ll let you know where to send it.
Aside from the letters obviously Oliver did get some gifts. So part of our celebration included opening the gifts that he had. One of Oliver’s favorite things is taking things out of bags, so he’s a pretty good present opener right now. He really enjoyed the gifts he got and we spent a fun afternoon playing with all of his new stuff. He got a slide that he absolutely loves climbing on, some blocks that he loves throwing and a safari with jungle animals that he loves throwing. He’s big on throwing things right now. He’s very much so a boy.
Now for some stereotypical mom talk. I can’t believe how fast one year went by. Oliver changed so many things about our lives, but at the same time I feel like he has always been a part of us. He’s made us happier and more aware of the world around us. Watching him learn the world is like seeing the world through fresh eyes. I love the excitement that he gets from a single bird in the sky or a dog barking down the street. We are so lucky to be parents to such an amazing baby, he truly was made just for us. The past year with Oliver has easily been the best year of my life, and I hope that each year gets better and better with this little family of mine.