If I'm being completely honest, Ashton's first birthday totally snuck up on me, and a week later I'm still trying to decide whether or not that was a good thing. I super over planned Em's first birthday (like several months in advance) and because of that dealt with a ridiculous amount of mama emotions leading up to the day because my baby growing older consumed my thoughts 95% of the time. This time around between being so busy with the holidays, family visits, and you know - life with two kids (#secondchildproblems maybe?) I didn't even start thinking about Ashton's actual party until a couple of weeks before. This saved me a decent amount of tears leading up to the actual day, but since he's officially hit his year mark I've still had plenty of emotional moments about his growing up making me think that it doesn't matter much whether or not I plan my kid's parties six months in advance or six days, I'll still be an emotional mess when it happens because that's just the type of blubbering, mushy person that I am.
For the party I decided to keep things simple and loosely theme it around balls because they're one of Ashton's favorite toys to play with. We had a few close friends over for lunch, treats, and of course plenty of balls and balloons for all the kids to play with and enjoy! The highlight of the party were definitely the adorable personalized sugar cookies that my sweet friend Caley from Sweetly Painted Cookies made for the party, she sent over the most darling "ball" sugar cookies that were perfect for theme I was going for, and also made me wish that I was better at making/decorating cakes so that Ash's smash cake looked less shabby next to her incredible talent (notice the close up picture of the cookie but purposefully no close up shot of the cake). 😂 I wish that I lived closer to her so that I could hire myself as her officially cookie taste-tester because I love them so much, and would highly recommend that anyone in the southern California area reach out to her and get her amazing cookies for your next event! Thanks so much again for the cookies Caley, your talent with painting and baking is incredible!
Despite my lack of cake decorating skills, Ashton still loved his cake and digging into it with his fingers and hands, and even kept trying to crawl back to the spilled cake on the floor once he was out of his highchair before I'd had a chance to clean up the mess. 😂 This age with Ash has been SO fun, he's really come into his own spirited personality lately and I don't think a single day goes by where he hasn't made me laugh or snapped me out of a frustrated funk with just his smile. He's recently found his voice, and does the cutest imitations of sounds he hears us make through talking or reading books. He hasn't started walking on his own yet, but literally climbs every surface that he can to terrifying heights. Emery is still his favorite person to play and laugh with, and I'm still (thankfully) his favorite to cuddle up with when he's tired or sad. He gives the best hugs but will smack you away if you ask for a kiss, and has made getting into mischief an olympic sport that he excels at. With how crazy busy this past year has been in so many aspects of our lives I've been having a really hard time saying "goodbye" to Ashton's baby years because I feel like I unintentionally let so many moments slip through my fingers in the chaos, but also feel SO grateful for all of the little moments and memories that Ashton has brought into our family, and can't wait to watch him grow and hold onto all of the sweet moments that are sure to come. 💙
Also on a completely unrelated side note and mostly for myself when I look back on his birthday pictures, the day of Ashton's party was probably one of the gloomiest, rainy, stereotypical Oregon winter days that I think we've seen since moving here, making it so that me getting any pictures that were actually bright and not grainy was impossible. I'm obviously still sour about it, but am trying to be optimistic about it and remind myself that once upon a time grainy pictures were all we had to document anything and that years from now it won't matter as much and I'll be grateful for at least some sort of documentation of Ash's big day. But seriously, thanks a lot for the crummy weathered day Oregon, and you're lucky you're such a beautiful state with a perfect climate to live in to make up for messing with my photo perfectionism.
Happiest of first birthdays to our sweet little sunshine boy!
We love everything you are and everything that you bring to our family.
weight & height: 23.6 pounds and 31.5 inches. You're in the 80th percentile for weight and 95th for height, and growing at a perfect rate! eating & sleeping: You've recently become really independent when it comes to eating solid foods and love feeding yourself with your fingers. You've liked pretty much everything that you've tried at this point, including your first birthday cake! Your 12 month molars are currently coming in making sleep past 6 AM a fairly nonexistent thing, and we're all looking forward to those coming through so that everyone can be more comfortable and better rested. exciting firsts/milestones: Although you haven't started walking on your own yet, you've made it a habit of walking along the wall and basically anything else you can hold onto along the way, and have regularly started standing up on your own for extended periods of time making us thing that walking is right around the corner! You've also become much more chatty and love trying to imitate the sounds that you hear around you. We also had your first birthday of course, and had so much fun celebrating you at your party! things I love: You are so mobile lately and love to climb on EVERYTHING and anything that you're able to! You love bath time and any type of water, playing music and dancing to it, playing with toys, cars, and balls, and love playing with Emery, who can still make you laugh more than anyone else! things I don't enjoy so much: Because you're so active, the main time you're unhappy is when you feel like you're being kept from being able to explore. You've also completely refused to drink out of anything but a bottle, and Mom is once again kicking herself for waiting so dang long to actually start introducing any sort of sippy cup into your life as we try to work through it. mom & dad's biggest parenting lesson so far: As your first year has come to a close, we've been reminded once again of just how sneaky of a thief time is when it comes to baby's first year of life. The past year has been such a busy year for our family making it feel like it's been a long time since you've joined us, but then at the same time I still feel like time has gone by so fast and there's been so many times that I've been worried about missing any of your big milestones because I happen to blink and they just happen so quickly. We've really taken to trying to slow down and simplify life where we can and more fully indulge in soaking in all of the little moments with you and Emery, because you really are only little once, and we don't want to miss a bit of it. 💙
weight & height: 31.5 inches and 23 pounds. eating & sleeping: Your appetite has really expanded this past month and you've reached a point where you're now slowly starting to want and enjoy different textured foods. Some of the solids that you've been enjoying lately are Trader O's cereal in the morning with breakfast, and then small snacks like raisins and Happy Baby Coconut Creamies throughout the day, and mama is currently trying to figure out what to feed you as a regular dairy-free diet once you're a year old and off of formula. exciting firsts/milestones: This past month you had your first Christmas and had such a fun time in Utah with all of your family. You've also started standing on your own for a few seconds at a time, and will take a few small steps with the help of a walker (though you still very much prefer crawling at this point). You grew two more teeth and started on your molars in the back, have started clapping on a regular basis, and have started saying "uh-oh" as your first official word outside of "mama" and "dada". things I love: Your favorite thing right now more than anything is unfortunately bathrooms and specifically toilets, and you've learned how to open up our doorknobs to be able to reach them whenever you please. You also love playing with balls and anything with wheels, and for the most part love playing with Emery and will spend a decent amount of time with her playing with whatever she's doing. You also love reading books, and right now your current favorite is Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb by Al Perkins. things I don't enjoy so much: Along with your visit to Utah you also experienced your first real cold (or a rough reaction to the dry, yucky Utah winter air) and no one enjoyed working through that experience. We also realized in Utah that you really don't enjoy sleeping in a colder environment, nor do you sleep very well when you're not in your own environment. mom & dad's biggest parenting lesson so far: More than anything, at this point I think we're just amazed and constantly learning that you are so innovative, and will be SO quick to get into mischief or into a potentially crazy situation if we're not keeping a close eye on you. Child-safety gates, plugs, and locks have become our best friends as of late, and even with those we're still often kept on our toes. You're definitely our mischievous child, but you're so dang happy and adorable while doing it that we absolutely adore you and love you for it! We can't believe that your first birthday is right around the corner!
weight & height: 23.6 pounds and 31 inches long. You've already bumped yourself into 12-18 month clothes because you're so long and just keep growing! eating & sleeping: Your appetite has been HUGE lately and you've been loving your baby food meals and bottles. We're still working on getting comfortable with harder textured foods but are making progress every day! You've also just recently started sleeping in until a little after 7AM and we are crossing alllll of our fingers that you keep that up! exciting firsts/milestones: You gave mama your first intentional kiss this month, and although it only happened once I'm still soaking in all the feelings from it since you really only say my name when you're sad and reserve saying "dada" for when you're happy. You also had your first Thanksgiving this past month, and enjoyed trying the fresh sweet potatoes most! things I love: You're happiest when you're on the move and getting into mischief. You're obsessed with things like blinds and the one kitchen cupboard that holds our cleaning supplies, but also enjoy playing with toys like the play kitchen, balls, and toy cars. Emery is still your favorite person for the most part, unless she's trying to pull you away from something you're trying to get into. You also LOVE bath time, and your enthusiasm for it is definitely contagious! things I don't enjoy so much: Right now the thing that you continue to enjoy the least is being kept still when you just want to be up and moving. This continues to make things like getting dressed and diaper changes a challenge. You've also gotten to the point where you'll get mad and throw a monster sized fit at Em, me, or Dad if we've done something to upset you complete with a mad (but still adorable) face and very direct yells. mom & dad's biggest parenting lesson so far: I don't know if it's that we've just finally gotten worn down enough to care less about things that would've stressed us before or if we're actually learning something new, but this past month we've really learned to just go with the flow and to not stress it when things don't go according to how we'd originally planned them. That means that our floors no longer get swept every night and toys will sometimes be left out too, we're rarely ever on time to anything, and the monthly photo updates will not always be centered because *someone* just wanted to scale the chair and not sit still 😉, but as long as we're trying our best and teaching you and Em to be your best, kindest selves, that will always be the most important thing.
weight & height: 21.8 pounds and 30 inches long. eating & sleeping: We finally seem to have reached a point where you enjoy eating pureed baby food and have an appetite for it regularly throughout your day! You usually eat baby food for lunch and dinner, and then stick to your formula for the rest of the time. You still don't like sleeping in past 6:15/6:30 every morning, but when the time changed with daylight savings this past month you still woke up at 6:15 AM on the dot so at the very least you're consistent. exciting firsts/milestones: This past month has been a big one when it comes to new milestones for you. You officially made the transition into full-on crawling, and with that have also learned how to quickly climb the stairs. You also made the official move into your own room and crib, and even though mom was really sad to send you in there earlier than planned, you've been sleeping better because of it which is a good thing for everyone. You've also pushed through your two top teeth, and from the looks of it are working on more! Last but not least, you also had your first Halloween and made all of our cliche dreams come true by dressing up as the cutest little pumpkin! things I love: Your favorite thing right now is to explore and get into EVERYTHING that you're able to reach. Garbage cans, kitchen cabinets, dresser drawers, toilets and bathrooms, and electrical outlets have all made (and been checked off of) your bucket list thus far. You love playing with toys but always with other people in the room with you, and have taken to your father's love of electronics, specifically, laptops, iPads, phones, Mama's watch, and Daddy's xbox. You LOVE baths and splashing in the water, and love playing with your big sister more than anyone else. things I don't enjoy so much: We're learning that you are a very opinionated baby that makes your likes and dislikes known quite loudly. So, whether it's getting taken away from somewhere/something that you were trying to "explore", getting dressed in the morning when you'd rather be playing, getting put down to bed when you're tired but don't want to miss out, or are trying to be fed carrots and peas for dinner instead of something more desirable, you let us know about it in no uncertain terms that you disapprove. mom & dad's biggest parenting lesson so far: This past month has brought so much growth for you, and with it has given Mama finally what feels like a better understanding for you, your personality, and how you communicate your likes and dislikes to me. You're very spirited which can be really fun or really stressful depending on the situation, so knowing a little bit better how to keep you happy and best communicate with you has helped a lot to try and minimize the stressful times and focus more on the fun. Also, I'm kicking myself for not being better organized with our cross-country move and losing all of our outlet plugs/other baby-proofing items, so baby-proofing, along with trying to stay organized has been another big learning curve for this month.
I'm Chelsea. I'm a wife, mommy, photographer, and lover of life's little adventures. Join me here to celebrate the beautiful things in people and life.