Drop-Down Menu

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Photo Flashback : February 2012

You were so big, yet so little. I thought I knew you, but I had no idea how amazing you'd be. I can't imagine how much I'll love you in another year or two or fifteen (just kidding, everyone knows we will annoy the heck out of each other in fifteen years).

 (Thanks to Darbi of Darbi G Photography for the above two pictures. 
Also I miss that little green and blue shirt. It was my favorite of all time so far, I think.)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A Reflection

I wrote this a few months ago and never published it for some reason. It still resonates, so I'm hitting go on it now. This was written in response to some relatives "teasing" me (read: criticizing me) that they never saw me without Carys and that we must be joined at the hip (perhaps they forget that I'm a SAHM with a husband who works 12+ hours a day?). Now that she's older, I do actually go out quite a bit on my own, but at the time, the suggestion that I wasn't giving myself enough "me" time hit home. Probably because they were right...but I just wasn't ready to steal that time for myself away from her quite yet. 

I used to scoff at those women who introduced themselves as "So-and-so's mommy." Yes, true, I thought, you are So-and-so's mommy, but you're also YOU. And possibly a wife, a daughter, a sister, a friend, a cousin, a boss, an employee.  You're someone who can't name your child. (Low blow, sorry, So-and-so's mom.) There are so many facets to each of our personalities; so many parts that make us whole. Once you have children, it can be a struggle to not let the "mommy" part overwhelm the other parts, until you've lost every bit of who you were pre-child.

While I still think that being "So-and-so's mommy" is selling yourself AND your child short, the truth is, I don't go out enough on my own. At this point, I simply don't want to. I've only had eight months with this little girl, and in reality she changes so much every week I feel like I've only had days with any given iteration of her. In the words of the immortal and wise and older-than-you'd-think-or-maybe-not Stephen Tyler, "I don't wanna miss a thing." Of course, he was probably on drugs when he said that, so perhaps I should look elsewhere for quotes. (Note: Four months later, I actually have been out a bit more. Slowly but surely!)

When Carys was gestating (weiiiiiird thought), she was wholly a part of me and dependent on me, though as the nine months of pregnancy went on, she became a more an independent being with her own personality (there is nothing quite so strange as something moving inside you that is at once completely separate and completely part of you).  After she was born, she was physically separate from me, but in nursing, she still relied on me to sustain her life.  (Okay, okay, she could have had formula and not needed me, but to me, nursing was important.)

Each day that passes, she becomes more and more autonomous, and the scale shifts from needing me wholly and completely to needing me less and less. At this point in her life, when I'm still the raison d'ĂȘtre, I want to be there.  I want to lose myself in the role of "Carys's momma." Of course, I still need to find time to be a wife, sister, daughter, granddaughter, cousin, and SELF as well, and sometimes I have to force myself to take a step back and take some time for myself. This new role, though, has become forefront in my priorities because at the moment, she needs me most.  But it's temporary, this time of complete dependance. Soon enough, Carys won't be my nursling (can I just "aww" over the cuteness of that word?) and we no longer will have a physical connection (other than her being an external manifestation of my love out there walking around in the world, of course).  When that happens, other priorities will slowly shift back into a more prominent place in my life - book club, girl's night out, solo vacations, and it will be good.  She will always be one of the biggest parts of my life and one of my top priorities, but as she gains independence, so will I.  (Sidenote: In reading this now, as she's 12 months old, it's already happening...too fast. She's so independant. I go out a LOT more now than I did before. It helps having my mom here to babysit at the drop of a hat!) 

I know many people who have become so wrapped up in and even obsessed with their children that they, as adults, have difficulty functioning without their kids in their day to day lives.  And I worry about that happening to me. In my mind, I think these issues arise when your children no longer need you as much, but you still need them. That is, when you haven't re-filled the spots in your life that in your pre-child "other" life olden days were dedicated to your hobbies but were transferred to your children once they arrived. When your children left, those spaces became empty again, and without anything to fill them you collapse into those holes and become a shadow of the person you once were (I think we all know people like this). While I'm worried about falling into that trap, I'm confident that in being aware of this potential landmine and with the fantastic example my mom set for us (she was always our mom and we were always a priority, but once we were old enough to navigate the world a bit on our own, she showed us that she was also a teacher and a friend and a mystery book club member, etc.) that I'll be able to avoid that situation in the long run. Because right now, I'm wrapped up in motherhood, but I know this isn't forever.  I know that as she grows we'll both want and need our own space, and that our priorities will change and shift and our lives will no longer revolve around each other.  Exactly how it should be.

In the meantime, I'm just enjoying this brief time (oh-so-brief) when she can be my world, and it's okay.

Monday, July 23, 2012

One Year Blues

Care-bear (yes, that is her cheesy nickname, but it came about organically, as my brother Jared was Jare-bear growing up and so naturally we started calling her Care-bear, except there actually ARE Care Bears so it's not as cute, or maybe that makes it cuter and where was I going with this?). Oh, yes. Care-bear, my girl Carys, is not enjoying being one. Well, she enjoyed the first couple weeks, but these last two days she's decidedly taken a stand against it.

Grump-ass, I believe the technical term would be.

Yes, she is grumpy. I know this is the stereotypical, bitchy, braggy mom thing to say, but she is normally SO good and joyful and happy that seeing her being whiny and crying for no apparent reason is mind boggling and I'm not used to it and I don't know how to handle it.

I'm pretty sure that her one-year molars are coming in and wrecking havoc on our happy little baby.  I'm also pretty sure that I blame all of her mood swings on teeth, but I'm also pretty sure that they deserve the blame.  I was reading on some website that teething pain is a myth and just a convenient scapegoat for desperate parents, and to that I say Fuck All You Lucky Ass Bastards Who Had Easy Teethers.  I got uncomfortable when my wisdom teeth came in.  Of course it hurts when sharp little pieces of bone push through actual living tissue replete with nerve endings.

Carys is not a bad teether, I guess.  An occasionally irritating teether, perhaps, but not a bad-waking up in the night-crying constantly-angry teether. Just a slightly whiny and crying-y teether who doesn't know what she wants or how to ask for it (oh, the travesty of not being able to talk).  When teething, she very clearly prefers cold foods - homemade popsicles made with fruit purees, whole milk, and yogurt are a fave. She drools a lot. She chews her fist. She bites (ok, this might just be normal toddler sensory exploration) (did I just call my baby girl a toddler?) (yes, I think I did) (can I take a moment to cry?).  

And maybe the fretfulness isn't teething. It could also be the lack of sleep and routine and naps that she's had the last week. That's partly my fault; in my quest to squeeze every moment out of summer (and every moment of this time with my mom here before she goes back to being six hours away) I've been dragging her to concerts and dinners and events all over the city, and she's been going to bed late and she's been missing naps (though, of course, she still rises at the same inhumane hour of 6 or 7 am).  Add that to the fact that she's slowly phasing out her afternoon nap but that she hasn't started to push her morning nap back yet (meaning she still goes down naturally a few hours after she wakes in the morning, but may not sleep again until bedtime eight hours after she woke up from her nap), and you have all the ingredients for a grumpy baby. 

So it's either that or it's the molars. Or that one damn incisor that has been just barely peeking through for weeks.

Or may she just got sick of being little Miss Sparkle Happy Sunshine Bear all the time and wanted to remind us how damn lucky we are with her.

We know, kid. We know. Trust me. Every giggle reminds us.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Letters to Carrots : Month Twelve : One Year Old

June 7 - July 7, 2012
Dear Carys,

Well, this is it. You're one, and it makes me want to burst into tears and clap and celebrate and kiss you and watch you walk and force you to cuddle with me like a newborn all at once. I'm so excited for what the next year will bring; I'm so proud to see the wonderful kid that you've become in the last year; and I'm heartbroken that your baby-hood is over.  I was there five days a week for most of it, and cancelled cable, and committed to staying off my phone and Facebook and computer while you are awake (I succeed about 75% of the time, but sometimes I just need to look up one quick thing, which leads to 100 quick things...please tell me I'm not the only one...), but still, I feel like there was SO MUCH I missed because I glanced away that one time. If I could I would go back and just stare at you all. day. long. With a video camera. And a time-freezing machine. I wonder if I could have done something differently to remember every second, like been born with a photographic memory.  Thanks for nothing, MOM.

 You want to be a big kid so much!

 This last year has been both the fastest and slowest I've ever experienced. It feels like a long time in that it's like you've been with us forever, and it's hard to remember pre-Carys days. But at the same time, it FLEW by. Actually, my whole pregnancy with you flew by too, so it's like the last two years happened in the blink of an eye. The Rally to Restore Sanity that we went to just before I found out I was pregnant with you feels like it happened just a few months ago, instead of in 2010.  I was warned. I was warned about how the whole space-time continuum changes when you're a parent, but I didn't understand. I COULDN'T understand. But it really does. Time takes on an entirely different speed and meaning once that slippery bundle of joy shoots out of a bodily orifice.

And I want 100 more years of you. I wanted 100 more years of newborn you and 100 more years of six-month you and I want 100 more years of one-year you. Every single stage has been my favorite up to that point, and I could never pick just absolute favorite. I want them all, concurrently.  Although today your dad said, "I love one. One is definitely my favorite." And really?  I love One too.  One is full of laughs and smiles and wonder (ONEder! ha!). If I thought you were toddler-like before, this month you truly embraced the role. Your babbling is purposeful. Your walking is confident. Your gestures are full of meaning.

It occurs to me that at some point I will have to stop calling these monthly letters, as "Letters to Carrots Month 180" when you're 15 seems impractical as well as difficult to keep track of. However, I'm telling myself it's okay as long as you're still in clothes labeled "month"...although you do have a pair of 2T pants. That fit. WTF. I blame Old Navy reverse vanity sizing.

If you're my mom, you're probably wondering if I'll still be nursing you at 180 months, and obviously the answer is: only if you want to be nursing. JUST KIDDING. You're only one; you're still a baby in so many ways, and you are so clearly not ready to lose that relationship, and neither am I. We're working on slowly dropping sessions here and there and I often offer you a sippy of milk or water instead of nursing when you make the "milk" sign, and sometimes you take it. But just as often, you just want that comfort, and I am loathe to take that away from you at this point. It just doesn't feel like the right stopping point. 

If I had to pick two things to define this, your twelfth month of life, they would be walking and reading. 

You love to walk. You took your first step at 10 months and 1 day old, and it was almost exactly a month from then until the day you officially were walking more than you were crawling. You are a pretty fast and stable walker by now and you love to toddle up and down the aisles at stores while I'm shopping...pulling everything off the lower shelves, of course (note: I let you if it's something I can pick up easily and isn't breakable, but I'm not that parent who lets their kid destroy the store).  It's a whole new world for you! In fact, I am not sure I've seen you crawl at all in the last two weeks. You have been waiting to be able to walk for months now, and now that you can I don't think you'll ever go back to crawling. The second I set you down, you're off and running.  Adorably, you prefer to walk so much that if you're tired and can't keep your balance as well as you can when you're wide awake, you'll fall and get up and take a step and fall and get up and take a step over and over, rather than just crawling to wherever it is you're trying to get. And you can walk in shoes, and you can walk on grass, and you can walk carrying heavy books. You are much more graceful than I am at the age of 31! The other day we took the dog on a walk and you walked for about two blocks, which is just incredible, especially for someone who at the time wasn't even a year old yet!  I love watching you walk, but at the same time it is the most surreal thing I've experienced during your first year (besides, well, you). When did you get old enough to do this? When did you get that tall? Where did my baby go?? Who is this CHILD who walks everywhere like a real little person?

The other defining item this month is reading. You've always loved books, but now it is ALL you love. I asked your dad what I should talk about in this month's letter, and he said, "Reading. Say she loves to read. And then say it again. And again. And again. For two hours straight."  And he's not exaggerating! You will pull out every single book on your bookshelf, bring it over to whatever adult is in the vicinity, put it in their hands, and sit on their lap to listen to them read to you. Then you repeat this times a million. The other day I spent - no lie - six hours reading to you (obviously with nap/eating breaks in there). You didn't want to play, you didn't want to dance, you didn't want to do anything but read. If the nearest adult is otherwise occupied, you'll physically grab their hand, open it, place the book in their hand, and close their hand around it. Your favorite book right now is one that you're not actually allowed to read on your own, because it's a pop-up book, but you know where I keep it and the second you wake up from a nap you ask to be picked up so you can see it and you point to it until I get it out for you. It's also very large and very heavy, and seeing you try to pick it up with both hands and bring it to me is a picture I never want to forget. You grasp it in both hands, lift your arms up high with your elbows by your ears, and peer over the spine of the book as you lug it to me.  And you like books on your own too - if no one is available, you'll sit and flip through the pages on your own. I never thought I'd say this, Carys, but I actually got sick of reading at one point. What?!!?! How?!?! And I'm pretty sure that you say, "Read!" too. It's a new addition to your vocabulary if you are saying it, but each of the last few times you've brought me a book you accompany it with a "reeee!" 

Other words in your vocabulary are dog (sometimes just "dag!" and sometimes a very clear "daggie!"), dada, cat ("keeee!"), hi (said with a wave, and said to ANYTHING), and the newest - tickle! You will work your fingers against my arm or stomach and say "ickle ickle ickle" and then wait for a reaction. It is absolutely hilarious.  It took a day or so for me to catch onto what you were trying to do, but when I realized it and gave the appropriate laugh and squirm you were positively delighted.  You sign "milk," "all done," and "more."

If "reading" and "walking" are the verbs of the month, the adjective is "fearless." 

A rare example of both your climbing and bikini-hoarding skills.

I've touched on your daredevil nature before, but it bears repeating. You. are. INSANE. You are the most kinetic child ever and want to constantly be moving, preferably at high speeds and off a high ledge.  You climb up slides (and not just the little slide in our backyard, but full-size ones at parks). You climb up the couch. You stand up on this wobbly child-size plastic chair we have. You can go up or down stairs just as fast as I can.   You climbed from your rocking chair onto your DRESSER. Then stood up on the dresser. On the fourth of July, you didn't even flinch at the fireworks (even the M80s!). You looked, pointed, and then clapped and wanted more.  Seriously, I'm having a heart attack, someone pass me some aspirin. 
Your fearlessness really manifested itself during our two swimming outings. 

This kind of swimming is for babies.

We went to Two Rivers State Park this month, and you absolutely loved swimming in the river. You'd dunk your face right in and try to paddle out. Jared and Kimberly took turns swinging you through the swift currents of the water and you thought it was the best thing ever. I had you in a swim float for babies, and you wanted nothing to do with it - you wanted to be free, you wanted to be in the water, you wanted to be going. So you climbed out of it, face first into the water. And thought that giving me a heart attack was the best thing ever - you came up smiling and laughing.

A week later, we went to the annual Fourth of July part at the G's house. We've been going forever, and your dad for years before that. It's a big food/swimming/firework extravaganza (that I hope, when you are reading this, you recognize because we're still going!).  I've been looking forward to having a kid to take swimming since the start. And it figures - I forgot my swimsuit. Argh. I ran to the store to get one (hint: don't go swimsuit shopping in July; there is NOTHING left to choose from), because there was NO WAY I was going to miss this, so if you're $40 short on your college fund it's because I wasted money on yet another swimsuit. I thought maybe you would be more apt to like the baby float in the pool because there was no current and you couldn't touch the bottom. Nope. We got in the water and you immediately crawled out and faceplanted into the water. I took you out and put you on a floating lounge chair instead, which was pretty much the best thing you've ever experienced in your life. You crawled back and forth on it, tried to stand up (and succeeded a few times...we need to get you into surfing lessons!), jumped off of it, dove off of it, and slid off of it. You'd hold onto my hands across the mat and have most of your body in the water, and you'd kick around and splash and dunk your head and laugh your ass off. You wanted nothing more than for me to let go of you and let you swim already, geez, mom, are you going to hold my hand the rest of my life???! You had no sense that you couldn't just swim. 

Ignore my gross face and focus on the fact that the kid is trying to stand up on a float in the water. 

In bad-parent news that is related to this fearlessness, you fell down the stairs. I knew it was going to happen. We can't baby gate our stairs because of the way they are set up (in a wide V-shape going down, with nothing to attach to on either side), so I have been dreading this moment. I've managed to always protect you up until the other day, when you were walking by them and took a step right off the edge. I leapt over the ottoman to get to you but couldn't reach you in time, and I just heard a series of sickening thumps and then wailing. Luckily, they are short stairs (only six of them) and luckily you weren't going down fast and luckily it's "just" vinyl linoleum at the bottom and not granite or something.  So no major injuries, though you did cut your lip on your teeth and bled all over yourself and me for the second time in your life (the first was a few months ago visiting Nana in Dubuque).


You may be becoming a pack rat. You choose the most random things to be attached to and carry around...my wallet (I eventually got you one of your own), your bath towel (which you slept with one night), your shoe (which you also slept with, and woke up grasping the next morning), a crocheted cocoon photo prop, a water bottle, my bikini top (wtf?), a headband, a bag of pistachios, a plastic bag, a piece of trash...each one lasts anywhere from a few hours to a few days, but it's never longer than a week. I have tried to push a "real" lovey on you but you're not interested. "What is this soft, cuddly piece of shit? Where is that crinkly death trap from Target?!?" you seem to ask, as you throw the soft lovey out of the crib.

 You dance and nod your head all the time, if you hear even the slightest hint of a beat. You love carrying things around in the crook of your arm. When you're pooping, you stop what you're doing, squat, and grunt. You are still an incredible mess maker.  You want to do anything I'm doing, whether that's doing dishes or putting on shoes. You love to play in running water.  You and the dog are best buds.  You point to and talk about everything around you. You notice it all.  You are so sweet and so gentle and so loving (but if you aren't feeling it, you'll bat them away!). If you get hurt, you don't want to cuddle; you want to walk it off, and you immediately tackle again whatever it is that hurt you (for instance, when you fell down the stairs, the first thing you did afterward was go down them, as if to prove that you can, never mind what just happened).  During your rare sad times, you dramatically lower your head to the floor and wail. It is adorable. 

I've written this before, but it continues to be true: You are so happy and so funny and so easy going. You laugh and smile at anything. You LOVE people. You've learned to say "hi" and when to say it, and you will great EVERYONE you see with "Hi! Hi! Hi!" and your bright smile. Even me, even when I've just run down to do a load of laundry. I get a toothy grin and a "Hi!" when you see come back up the stairs. I put an owl decal up in your room, and you noticed it immediately next time you woke up. Now, it too is greeted with a "Hi!" and excited wave whenever you catch a glimpse of it.  My favorite, though, is when you do it right after you wake up. You cry when you wake up, then I bring you in our room, and you lay with us and nurse for 30 minutes to an hour, drifting in and out of sleep. But once you've fully woken and you're done nursing, you'll pop up with a bright "Hi!", look over to make sure daddy saw you and give him a "Hi!" too, and then lean over the bed to say "Hi!" to Riley. Every morning, in that order. I will cry when you stop doing that and when you stop your greetings to strangers. The reactions from everyone to your "Hi"s and your smiles are the best. You truly, honestly make the world a brighter place.  Your cousin Ayah often asks disdainfully, "Are babies supposed to be this happy all the time?" 

We've continued doing things: We also went to an outdoor movie at the Holland Arts Center (where you became the mascot to everyone in the vicinity, and about a dozen people groaned when you fell while walking and faceplanted into the ground, then cheered when you got up smiling), to the Summer Arts Festival (which I vividly remember attending last year, pregnant with you!), to the zoo and Westroads play area (both staples!), and an amazing inflatable light/sound art installation called Architects of Air (which you absolutely loved). We went on a swimming playdate at Baby Leah's house. We tried to spend the night at Aunt Kimber's house, but you were too fascinated by her cats and all that was available to play with to go down to sleep. When you were still fighting sleep at 11 at night, I gave up and came home, where you immediately crashed.  You had your first Fourth of July, which, true to form, you loved.

Your hair is even lighter and more curly. Your eyes are still a very dark blue, with a light ring of hazel in the middle - although I have some pictures of you where they are bursting with blue, and others where they look almost brown.  I have given up on predicting what they are going to do (I've never seen an adult with eyes like yours, so I can only see them getting lighter or darker, but I can't imagine they'll stay this same color. You are tall, with a big head, one dimple, and wonderfully chubby baby legs. You have five and a half teeth - two on bottom, three on top, and one threatening to come through any day now.  You have a gorgeous, infectious smile. 

You are beautiful. 

You are smart. 

You are determined. 

You are vivacious.

You are wonderful.

You are sweet.

You are mine. 

(And I guess your dad's.) 

We love you more than anything. This has been the best year of my life, of your dad's life, of our lives. We can't wait too see what the next year brings.

Happy birthday, sweet pea!


Friday, July 13, 2012

First Birthday : SOB.

A post all about my first birthday party! It was Carys who was having the birthday, but this party was done by me for me. (Because yes, technically it was for Carys, but let's be honest: she didn't care. At all. She would have been happy with a cardboard box and a piece of watermelon. The decor and DIYs and all that shit? Totally just to make me happy. Because I like doing it.) We survived enjoyed a year of parenthood! Damn straight we were going to party!

It didn't turn out exactly the way I wanted it to in my head, mostly because we completely and totally ran out of time. I.E. I was decorating as people were there. Yes, I was taping down tablecloths as people were sitting at the table. CLASSY! Most of that wasn't my fault though...you can blame my brother, who promised to help but showed up a half hour late to the party (rather than the hour early he said he'd be) and the person with the folding tables, who showed up fifteen minutes before the party was to start. In the long run, though, none of that mattered. Yes, I would have had a few more things to take pictures of, but literally NO ONE but me cared. And in the end, even I didn't. She had a great time, the food was good, and it still went great.  And thank god I had it at a local park, because I can't imagine how crazy it would have gone if I hadn't been restricted by the location (if you don't believe me, you should see my Pinterest inspiration board!).

It started with her invite (below) and went from there. I didn't have a theme so much as an idea.  The original colors were aqua, yellow, and pink, but a lot of things I was finding also had green, so I added a bright green to the mix as well. And chevrons. I've been in love with chevrons for about a hundred years now, so I wanted to include them.

There were a few things that I did that turned out really well and that I really am proud of and want to mention specifically.

1. Time Capsule
I've already had about a dozen people ask for the files from this, so it must be a hit! I was looking through my baby book and started asking my mom about what she thought the world would be like in the 2000's back when I was a little baby....and thought how fun it would be for Carys to be able to see that, straight from the people she knows and loves.  So I had a ton of fun putting together this time capsule idea.

Edit: I had a lot of requests for the files, and I couldn't spend as much time as I wanted to fulfill all the requests, so to hopefully balance providing them and not spending all my time on them, I set them up for sale at an Etsy shop. You can check them out here: 1. Custom Colors  2. Pink, Yellow, Aqua   3. Blue, Green, Yellow

Designed in Photoshop.

The prediction cards were designed in Photoshop and printed on store-bought 3x5 index cards. There are a mix of Carys-specific predictions and general predictions about life in the year 2032.

The frame is from Hobby Lobby; I spray painted the inside yellow.  The pics are from July '11, October '11, January '12, April '12, and June '12 (labeled with little pieces of paper I cut into flag shapes).  The "C" and the "1" are just cardboard letters from Hobby Lobby covered in felt (I used spray adhesive to attach the felt).  And yes, how classy is it to have a trash can in the background? Such is the risk you take when your party is in a public park pavilion. 

2. Timeline Banner
I love this so hard, but probably no one else even noticed it. Oh, well. I spent a good deal of time staring at it and sobbing and wondering where the time went.

Paint chips for the background color; hung on a yellow ribbon 
with mini-clothespins purchased at Hobby Lobby.

4. Her Outfit
DAMN STRAIGHT SON, I MADE THIS SHIT.  I knew right away that I wanted to get a striped chevron fabric in the birthday colors. However, the universe didn't know that I wanted that and the only thing that was remotely close wouldn't be released until August. So I did what any normal, rational person would do and designed my own and had it made by Spoonflower.  I knew exactly the outfit that I wanted - this pinafore from Smashed Peas and Carrots. And I knew I wanted to make it. However. Except. But.

I'd never sewn before.

I mean, a button here and there. But nothing REAL. Luckily, my aunt had just dusted off her sewing machine and was itching to get back in the sewing game, so she threw herself at my disposal. I made a test outfit out of an old sheet, then moved onto the real thing. And I am SO PROUD of it. I love how it turned out. I can see all the little imperfections, of course, but still: I MADE IT! (Note: It was 6-12 mos, but I didn't alter the length of the pattern, as I wanted it to be more like a tunic than a dress. I did raise the curve under her arms a bit, and cut a slice off the back curves so the "swoops" that crossed over would show more.

The ruffle butt bloomers were a bit more difficult. I couldn't find a good (free) pattern online, but in the end one of my friends had one that she let me borrow.

Test outfit on the left from pillowcase; starting the real thing on the right.

Outfit being modeled by Mr. Bear.

I wish I had a really good picture of the bloomers on her, 
but she crushed the ruffles pretty much immediately.
Freshly sewn bloomers (they aren't actually wonky; I just didn't lay them out very straight here).

So those were the big three things.  I did other things, too, like made her birthday hat, spray painted the high chair yellow, cut fabric table runners, spray painted the cupcake stand, spray painted some vases yellow, made the cupcake toppers, and made a little mini banner for the high chair (which I forgot about, sob).  My sister made the cupcakes and her little smash cake, Chris and my uncle grilled, and my mom, mother-in-law, and aunt helped with the side dishes. Family is a wonderful thing.

The birthday hat before I glued it to the headband and 
sewed ric-rac along the bottom; the beginnings of her birthday banner. 
Also after taking this picture I realized that the "1" was crooked on the hat and I fixed it.

All right....now for the photo bomb. Literally.

Of course, you can't really see the cupcake toppers that I slaved for hours on,
but they're just two triangles of felt hot glued to toothpicks. Cupcake holder 
was on clearance at Target for like $3, and I spray painted it yellow.

 Her cupcake topper is leftover fabric from pinking the seams of her bloomers tied to a paper straw cut in half, with felt triangles hot-glued onto it. Super ghetto. But cute! The glitter candle is from Target. Keeping in line with my hippie rep, we did a "healthy" smash cake using the blueberry-banana cake recipe from here.  There was a little bit of buttercream frosting on it, so she wasn't TOTALLY denied joy and happiness.

Mason jars from Amazon; Daisy cut lids from Etsy, straws from Hey YoYo. These were a HUGE hit and looked really cute full of lemonade and juice.

I have no good pics of these in action, but these are the fabrics (from Fabric.com) of the table runners. Two tables had yellow, two had blue, and all had pink bowls full of ice and water in the center (50 cents from Target, woot!). And yes, I shoulda ironed them.

Headband is from Etsy.  Shoes are from See Kai Run. Did I mention I made the dress?

Running around like a maniac + a million degrees + humidity = completely ruined hair + no makeup = someone should have given me a brush. And a mirror.

Yes, that is a yard sign. I got it for free when VistaPrint messed up my invite order. YAY!

Had my decorating plans been realized, there would have been lots of 
streamers, balloons, and paper pom poms in this picture. 

Birthday hat was made by me out of paper, with ribbon for the top, and hot glued onto a headband. She's not too sure about everyone looking at her.

Really this is just another picture to show off the outfit.

There goes her "1" balloon. I was really sad about this. 
I was looking forward to bringing it home so she could play with it!

These turtles are totally humping, right?!?!?!

She is terrified of this book.

A hundred new toys and she just wanted to play in the water.

The infamous Pottery Barn chair that about 70% of our baby friends 
got for their first birthday as well (this is from mom and dad!). 

"Roar!" goes the baby.

So even though it didn't go quite as well as I would have hoped in terms of preparation  and even though it wasn't quite the photo-ready event I imagined in my head, it was still a rousing success, because let's face it - we all survived her first year!  That alone is enough to make it a winner.