Monday, December 26, 2011

Just One Year

During the first year time seems so fleeting.  Babies change quickly and it's impossible to keep them in any given stage for more than a few days.  All around you are reminders that the time will pass quickly - even a line of Carter's clothing is appropriately named "just one year" (although Clara being on the small side, will still be wearing these for a few months yet).  When her birthday arrived we could hardly believe it.  What a year it has been - probably the happiest yet for our family.  We love our sweet baby girl and feel so blessed to be her parents!

For her big day, my only hope was to have her know that it was a special day.  And happily, I think she caught on right away!  As soon as she woke up, Spencer and I sang her Happy Birthday (this happened several times throughout the day) and she just smiled and giggled and danced and clapped.  We snuggled in bed for a while, had a peekaboo session and then headed to breakfast at IHOP with Aunt Carol and Clara's cousins Harriet, Jed and Henry.  She loves pancakes, so it was a perfect birthday breakfast.
Breakfast @ IHOP - not having the best hair day and super glazed-over from trying to squeeze a special breakfast in when she's usually napping
 Clara had a nap while Spencer and I spent the afternoon making the final preparations for her party that evening.  Things were definitely low key as far as parties go, but it was loosely based around a red, pink and white snowflake theme.  I saw an idea to make snowflake garlands a few days before the party, so that was our main decoration with some pink, red and white balloons.  Clara got a kick out of the balloons.
My mom and I made red velvet cupcakes on Friday with white chocolate snowflakes to go on top (super easy).  Clara had her own mini cake (I baked it in ramekins) as well.  I also decided last minute to make her a special little outfit for her party.  She had a cute tulle skirt attached to some leggings, a cupcake appliqued onesie and a party hat.  These were all super easy and hardly cost a thing to throw together.  The decor was complete when Clara's cousins showed up with a cute snowflake birthday banner they made for her. 

We had a great little family party with both sets of Clara's grandparents, Aunt Carol, and Aunt Heather and Uncle Peter and their kids who were in town from California.  Clara was definitely the star of the night.  After dinner we sang her Happy Birthday (yet again) and helped her blow out her candle.  She approached her cake much like she approaches cheerios - shoving handfuls in her mouth until she could hardly chew or swallow.  She burrowed a little hole in her cake and was not shy - she definitely enjoyed it!  After a few minutes I took it away, afraid that she might overindulge and get sick.  
Patiently waiting for her cake

Going to town on the red velvet!
The occasion was well documented.

What was left when I finally took the cake away.
When we all finished cake and hot cocoa, Clara opened her gifts. She got some great new books and toys, but I think her favorite gifts were clothes!  She loves clothes and will hardly let you pry a hanger from her fingers.  

After gifts we headed to the basement to watch a little movie I put together of Clara's first year.  It really just skims the surface of the footage we have of her - she is a very well documented little girl. But it was so fun to look back and see just how much she has grown and changed in the last 12 months.  

I have gotten SO many comments about how unfortunate it is that her birthday is on Christmas Eve.  People throw out unsolicited suggestions to celebrate her birthday in the summer or have something in January to commemorate the day.  But I have to say this was one of my favorite Christmas Eves ever (perhaps only comparing to last year when I had a brand new baby to snuggle).  I thought the whole day was just perfect.  Clara is a very special little girl and we love her so much.  Being her mother is one of the greatest joys in my life!

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