Willow is One Year Old

Ah, typing that title is crazy! It's officially happened. My girl is a whole year old. I gushed about how much that means to me in my last post, so refer to that if you are feeling emotional today. This post is about Willow's birthday party and what has changed since month 11.

This past month, baby has been a climbing machine. She pulls up to stand absolutely everywhere, even if it's just on the side of a wall. She hardly needs the wall, and I can distract her with a toy to where she's standing without support, but mentally she still needs to hold on to something. Her favorite thing to do right now though is to climb up the stairs. It's a long, arduous process... and she hasn't figured out how to go back down, but she just goes right back to it when you put her at the bottom. Little monkey.

Napping is getting a little less predictable lately. Yesterday she took a one hour nap in the morning and a three hour nap in the afternoon. For many months now we've had a consistent 2 and 2 hour nap routine. I think she's just slowly working her way to one nap a day. I'm not rushing her, but it will be nice to have that predictability! She also slept through the night twice in the past week. She woke up once or twice, but quickly put herself back to sleep. So I count it. Progress is being made!

We threw Willow a birthday party this weekend. It was a small group of people. Erik's immediate family, my immediate family, our grandparents, the Pesces who have been on this first baby journey with us this past year, and of course, Kristen, my best friend. Months ago, I got a text from Kristen that said "so when are we planning Willow's birthday party?" And of course, she was completely instrumental to the whole thing. Kristen arrived the night before and happily assembled tissue paper decorations with me. She decorated Willow's cake. She helped me prepare all morning long. She is the best, basically. I so wish she lived close by!

Willow seemed to really enjoy her party. She is clearly not bothered by crowds and seems to enjoy having lots of people to interact with. We already know this just watching her charm strangers in restaurants. I think it was fun for her to see all the people she knows in one place. And definitely fun to get her first taste of chocolate cake! 

She didn't have much interest in opening presents, not even in the wrapping paper haha. But she seems to be enjoying a lot of her gifts, especially the musical instruments I got for her. They're definitely a go to for her, and I knew they would be with how much she has enjoyed her toy drum. But there were a lot of really sweet, thoughtful gifts that I appreciated even if baby isn't ready for them yet! I think some of them will just take time.

Willow LOVED her birthday cake and ate the whole thing. I didn't grab pictures of that but I have video. Her confused look when everyone sang happy birthday to her was priceless. She wasn't bothered at all to have twenty people watch her eat cake haha. Lucky girl even got her first ice cream sandwich later that night because daddy just couldn't help himself when he heard the ice cream truck go by.

I gave her some of the other party food after her cake, thinking she wouldn't want anything but chocolate after her first taste, but she actually just enjoyed all of it. I made a black bean mango salsa with avocado, tomato, corn, all sorts of good stuff that Willow enjoys, and she's been eating that for lunch ever since the party. Most of the party food was just food that Willow enjoys, so there were tons of berries! Berries everywhere.

I have more photos and video of Willow than most people ever dream of having of their kids. And yet it never feels like enough! At her party, I tried to balance the documenting with the being present in the moment and it was difficult! Even with my sweet photographer friend picking up my camera and snagging some photos of us. I'm sure she knows the struggle well herself! I remember before the party, thinking how I wanted to video everyone who was there so one day Willow could see it and say "whoa, Uncle Cade was so young! And Uncle Chris had crazy long hair! And even my great grandparents were there eating cake with me!" But alas! 

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Little girl had a wonderful day though and that's the most important thing. Everyone was so impressed with how neatly she ate her birthday cake, not messing up her pretty white dress at all. Then we gave her spaghetti for dinner that night and basically turned the whole thing orange haha (I got all the stains out, I was so proud!). 

We've been playing with all her tissue paper poofs ever since the party. The fun just doesn't stop. And giving her little bits of birthday cake leftovers too!

I think I'll forever enjoy planning birthday parties for my girl, even though it's a lot of work. It's the kind of work you're happy to do. I made a poster for her that everyone kept commenting on, not believe I had made it myself. But I had enjoyed putting it together. I enjoyed practicing my baking skills so Willow would have a delicious and pretty first birthday cake. Kristen and I kept saying that it was JUST ENOUGH in terms of decorations and food. We tried not to go over the top, but hey, if we did, it was for a very worthy cause! 

Now my baby is one. And I guess she's a toddler now? Is she a toddler at 1 or 2? I don't even know. She's still a baby to me. We may call her a toddler when she starts toddling, but really, she'll be my baby forever right? So I never need to change what I call her! :)