Apparently, people can go pretty crazy about their child’s first birthday. When I was “doing research” (AKA googling stuff on the internet) in preparation for Ellen’s birthday I found this poll on Baby Center and was shocked at how much money some people spend on this special occasion. I like to think birthdays can still be fabulous without emptying your bank account, so that’s exactly what we did. We didn’t really decide on any sort of theme, but looking back I think “Pretty in Pink” would be an adequate description.
The mailman diligently delivered the multitude of packages that family members sent and every time the doorbell rang Cooper would excitedly shout “Box!” and run to the door. On the eve of Ellen’s birthday Noel and I gathered all the gifts in the center of the living room (reusing all the cute girly bags people brought gifts in a year ago) and blew up a bunch of balloons. When Ellen woke up we let her crawl into the room and tear apart a few gifts and then fed her as many raspberry pancakes as she wanted. (Which by the way, is a lot.) We left the presents in the living room all day and she just gradually unwrapped everything at her leisure.
The weather was beautiful and spring-like, so we went to the park and met up with a bunch of our friends. Ellen mostly chomped on graham crackers and whined. (Turns out she was cutting a tooth.) A big lunch and two teething tablets later, Ellen zonked out for a nice afternoon nap. I turned on Thomas the Train to distract Cooper and decorated Ellen’s cake. I altered this recipe for Cherry Vanilla Layer Cake for high altitude, skipped the suggested frosting, and instead doubled the buttercream filling (maybe even tripled I just kept making more as I ran out). I used an entire bottle of maraschino cherries to make the cake, which may seem sort of hypocritical considering my bash on red food dyes in my last cake post. My only retort is, you’re right it is hypocritical, but it was so beautiful and so tasty.
When Noel came home from work we played in the backyard for a little while, then started on dinner. Ellen (and everyone else) loved the orange chicken, brown rice, and cooked carrots we made. After dinner we gave our stomachs a break by Skyping with my parents. Cooper had a really hard time sharing screen time, he doesn’t seem to get that not everything is about him. Next came the cake! To say Ellen loved it was an understatement. Now, this wasn’t Ellen’s first taste of cake, but it was the first time she got a whole piece all to herself. She was thrilled.
After we bathed the kids, we Skyped with Noel’s parents and then got ready for bed by reading Ellen’s new book Olivia and the Fairy Princesses. Then Noel wrapped Ellen up in the new blanket I’d made for her and snuggled her for a little longer than he usually does.