A First Birthday Party

I am currently shirking my responsibilities in lieu of a more pleasant task; bragging out my baby’s first birthday. I mean really, who wouldn’t choose that over the tedious job of packing and cleaning? Although to be fair, I do enjoy cleaning more than most chores, but that’s beside the point! Given the sad tone of the last blog post I thought I owed myself a reflection on the joy of last year of new motherhood and Caidoc’s life. Very early on this year I decided to celebrate the year mark with a party, which I promptly started planning around the six month mark, yup, I’m one of THOSE people.

If you know anything about me you know I can be, er, rather, AM an avid planner (just ask any of my poor bridesmaids, haha!). Caidoc’s first birthday was no exception. I wanted the theme to be “Circus” not to be mistaken with “carnival” because we wouldn’t actually be playing any games, seeing that the guest of honor isn’t quite at the “following rules” stage 😉

A picture is worth a thousand words (which I could probably write easily since I LOVED planning this party) so I will use the amazing photographs of my sister-in-law, Anne Black, to shed light on the details. (You can find Anne’s work here.)

The invitations! Took me a couple weeks to find ones that were just right.

I don’t actually want to admit how much time I spent pre-making decorations. But I had a blast doing it!



I debated about how to convey a circus tent without breaking the bank. Here is what I came up with:

 I hand made most of the decorations, which made things cheaper and if I’m being honest, was how I prefer things since then they are exactly what I want.

I must give a special thanks to my sister Nina who slaved with me setting up decorations. It wouldn’t have been done in time without her!

I love making these:

And this was by far the trickiest thing to make since I had to transport it from our house to my parents without getting damaged. It turned out great!

Notice it’s arranged chronologically 😉

These were probably my pride and joy  of the decorations:

I had a difficult time with the food since I wanted it to be more of a snack and drinks thing than a full meal. With the help of my awesome mom, who was a wonderful sounding board and corn dog buyer, the spread was perfectly “on theme” and also provided more than just sugar and alcohol! Haha!

And of course the cupcakes:

There were also vegan cupcakes (for Caidoc) from PCC, I’m hooked! They were awesome.

These are Fruity Pebble rice crispies. I made them the night before so they would be as fresh as possible. I’m something of a rice crispy snob. I just love how colorful they came out! The trick is to do both regular rice crispies and Fruity Pebbles, too many Fruity Pebbles makes them taste weird.

Strawberry cocktails! Because what’s a first birthday without a little adult celebration?

Among the guests were Caidoc’s god parents, Brooke and Riley and their two daughters.

And of course, my BFF, Emily 🙂 (She is talking to Taylor, my eldest brother).

Once Caidoc woke up from his nap, the party started! I was SO happy he actually napped since he usually doesn’t sleep well anywhere other than home. And who wants a crabby baby at his own party? ( Of course, as my little sister Lydia pointed out, “Abby’s it is HIS party, he can cry if he wants too!) Luckily, he was an a fantastic mood, and looking quite dapper I might add 🙂

First came presents:

Then came CAKE! (Well, a CUP cake to be precise).

This is probably the most sugar he’s ever had in his life. Boy, did he LOVE it! He did hesitate to dig right in.

Probably the cutest kid in the world

And then more socializing! A special thanks to my parents for letting me host at their house since my guest list got a little out of control for our apartment 🙂

Caidoc eyeing Taylor and Macie (Caidoc’s cousin)
Atafa and her two kiddos
The guys chillin’ outside

The favors! I handed these out early since I ALWAYS forget to give out the favors when people leave. As is, pretty sure I missed a few people to give these to.


All the planning paid off, and it was so fun and I think went super well. Out of the parties I’ve planned this one went  Thanks to everyone who helped out and to those who came and celebrated with us! We hope you had a wonderful time.

“Whew! Mom, I’m tired!”


One Year

I’ve been a mother for one year today! Well, if you don’t count the nine months part of that, which most people don’t. I’m very nostalgic today and I have to admit when I was thinking up this post and what I was going to say, I wept to myself a little. Sadness isn’t what causes most of my tears since I became a mother, it’s everything else. I’ll get to that later.

(The picture is small because it’s a pretty ugly picture)

Let’s see, at this time a year ago, I was sitting in a bed in the Labor and Delivery ward of Overlake Hospital and was thinking that soon, maybe, a nurse would burst in saying it was time to push. That was all I could think since I had been in labor so long already my brain was pretty mushy and my tummy very empty. My poor husband was exhausted but stayed cheerful and kind. We thought it would be any minute that our little Caidoc would be born. It also happened to be the 17th, which held some significance for us since we started dating on a 17th and got married on a 17th, so hey, that’s cool!

Juice! The only sustenance I got. Grr…

But we waited, and waited, and waited. And no doctor came in, no nurse (well, they did of course but with no good news). After 24 hours of labor, on a pit drip, dilated four cm, I started crying. I think those were my first  tears as a real mother. I had never been in that kind of pain for that long and more than that, I felt like there was no end in sight.

Which of course, I now know is ridiculous because it’s not like he could live in there FOREVER… could he? But I was tired, really, really tired, and really, really hungry (I was one of those pregnant women who ate a LOT  CONSTANTLY and LOVED it, so not eating for 24 hours was not going over so well physically or, eh, mentally, ha ha).

It wasn’t until 11:47 pm (he almost wasn’t our “17th” baby!) that my little red, mushed, crying and utterly heart wrenching little boy was pulled from my abdomen. The first thing I thought was, “Why am I not holding him? They said I could have him!” I wasn’t totally coherent that I was being pinned down by four nurses because I had what is know as “the shakes” pretty bad. I felt the strange tugging of being sewn up but the only pain I felt was the screaming of my little baby cold and naked being handled by strangers. And I cried.

The amount of anger and despair I felt cannot be described with words. I believe the birth experience to be a monumental and life altering journey for the mother and baby, one that shapes the bond of the family for the rest of their lives. So, Chris and I had spent the past nine months preparing for the most natural, safe, calming and perfect birth we could provide for our little one. And in a matter of 36 hours of labor, it was torn to shreds. The selfish doctor, the careless nurses, they all poo-pooed our wishes and pressured and bullied us into the exact opposite experience we wanted with alarmist threats. I know a lot of you are thinking, “Well, he’s born, that’s all that matters.” To an extent, sure. But I will hold regret and anger for the way my baby was brought into this world for a long, long time. Maybe forever.

Birth isn’t supposed to have so many tubes and junk, at least Caidoc’s shouldn’t have.

It felt like hours and seconds all at the same time, but finally, I was lifted onto another bed, and sent to the Mother Baby unit. After all the washing and poking and prodding of my poor baby, I got to hold him and kiss him. He was perfect. And I cried.

So, today I was thinking back on that day and I cannot believe it’s been a year. The horrendous C-section recovery, the difficulty nursing, the rashes, the hospital visits, the food allergies, the loneliness of being a young mom, the sleepless nights (and days) and the stress and worry that I wasn’t doing anything right, that folks, brought so many sad tears. But there were happy tears as well, from the projectile poops, the sleeping baby laughs, the new baby smell, the pride and joy of such a perfect child, the first steps, little arms wrapping around my neck, that brought so many happy tears.

I can write and explain sadness and pain and frustration because we ALL have experienced that. But what I’ll never really be able to explain or express with clarity is the absolute and utter totality of the love I feel for my son.  And when I think of that, I cry.

*Photo by Anne Black
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