If you haven’t been following me for awhile you probably don’t know that I have a baby girl named Juniper. You also might not know that we tried for three years to conceive our little baby girl (you can read more about that here). After we got pregnant she grew in my uterus for forty and a half wonderful weeks and I endured thirty hours of horrendous labor that ended in one cesarean. I’m not bitter ha ha… At the end of it all, we were left with our beautiful seven pound fifteen ounce daughter. How is that relevant, you ask? Today, we get to celebrate, with you, the fact we’ve taken one full trip around the sun since that day. For those of you who don’t speak nerd, I’m trying to say that Miss Juniper turned one year old this weekend and we’re talking about it!
From the minute she was born she’s always been bright eyed and curious.
From the beginning of March I knew I wanted to write about her first birthday party. I wanted to document everything. My plan was to tell you what we did, how we did it, and how much everything cost us. I was going to showcase how to throw a fabulous birthday on a budget and I was super excited to do so. I also wanted to tell you how she enjoyed her big day and document it so maybe she could look back on it one day. Sadly we were unable to have the pickle themed birthday party I had been planning/looking forward to for months. Yes, I said pickle themed. It’s her favorite food and she would have loved what I had planned for her, but I digress.
After much consideration, I decided that I’m still going to tell you about the fabulous day we had, even if it wasn’t what I had first planned. I won’t be going into any prices on anything, though. We didn’t get any decorations or any food to feed a crowd. It was just the three of us at home so the amount we spent on everything was drastically smaller than we first thought her birthday was going to cost. This definitely isn’t what I had in mind for this post but I’m confident you all will enjoy seeing pictures of my girl nevertheless.
So just by chance her birthday landed on a Saturday this year, so we all slept in a little. When we woke up, Juniper was greeted with both Jordan and I singing her “Happy Birthday”, and let me tell you, she got such a kick out of it! This girl loves mornings and she loves singing so she was thrilled to see both of us greeting her in this way.
Once we got everyone down stairs Daddy made her a special birthday breakfast which consisted of eggs, sausage, and jellied toast. She exclusively gets the same oatmeal breakfast every morning so this breakfast was a real treat.
This was my favorite picture taken that day. It’s so simple, but I cannot get over how cute she looks. Also, we did give her toast it just isn’t featured in the picture.
Once everyone was fed and dressed for the day, we started to open gifts. This process took forever, and it always does. I think going into a little ones birthday party or any other gift opening event, a mom knows one of two things are going to happen. You are either going to end up opening every single present for your child or you are going to spend the whole day opening gifts. Well I opted for spending all day opening gifts because, I don’t like to rush her or open gifts for her. What usually happens when she unwraps things is that she will unwrap it and then proceed to play with that one gift for awhile before we move on. It’s a whole deal, but it was so much fun to watch her play with everything. Towards the end I was so done though. I think we started unwrapping around 7:30, 8 o’clock-ish in the morning and ended at around noon. She did loved all the presents she was given, and had so much fun playing with everything.
Does a birthday without pickles even count? We had to stop opening gifts for a pickle break.
After presents, snack, and lunch she went down for a nap which gave us the opportunity to prepare for the afternoon activities.
From the moment I found out I was pregnant with Juniper, I knew I wanted to hire a photographer to do newborn and one year old photos. Creating permanent memories of these moments meant a lot to me, but the pictures also needed to be pretty as well. So obviously since I’m not a professional nor do I ever want to be one, taking them myself was not an option at this point. As I’m sure you all have figured out, that opinion quickly changed after things started shutting down. Before the COVID-19 hit I found a photographer that could do all the things, from recreating photographs to smash cake sessions. I wanted it all. Lucky for me I know a few exceptionally talented people in this field. What wasn’t lucky was the fact that my daughters first birthday happened to be smack dab in the middle of a global pandemic. We made do though, and while it was kind of frustrating trying to figure out where the best lighting in the house was, overall Juniper was a good sport and we got some great shots.
Look at that smile! In every single picture of her she is beaming. Be still my heart…
As I mentioned above a smash cake photo sessions was a must. Smash cakes are almost a right of passage anymore, right? You turn one? You have a smash cake no questions asked. So we threw down an old table cloth and let her go to town. She started off kind of slow, but by the time she was done she was shoveling it in fist fulls at a time. She even had a cute tutu that matched her cake.
We don’t usually give her sugar so she went absolutely crazy with the first bite of this thing. I have never seen sugar affect a person as fast as it did her, and in case anyone is wondering, after she was finished eating she ran from one side of the house to the other laughing to herself over and over again. She’s great.
So we already know that my daughters favorite food is pickles but I bet you didn’t know that refried beans are a super close second for her. Knowing this information means we naturally had to have tacos for dinner that night, right? Right. So that’s what we did. I made taco meat and refried beans for us and she clean every inch of that plate. She’s definitely her father’s child.
Obviously in between all these planned activities she was able to play with her new toys and we were able to play with her. I’m just not including those parts in this article because they would be kind of boring to read.
The week before her birthday I really struggled with the thought of not having the party she deserved. Going into this day though, I tried hard to have a good frame of mind and make the best of a less preferable situation. Overall this was a great day and was still just as special as I imagined a party being, maybe even a little more special actually. I will always get to remember her very first birthday being celebrated with just our little family and with no stress of a party or cranky baby schedule since we were able to adapt everything to fit with what she needed. It was also cheaper to do it this way too.
In the end, I truly believe this was the day she deserved. She had the two people that love her the most trying so hard to make her day as special as possible. She got two parents who weren’t stressed out about hosting a bunch of people and were able to actually make the day all about her instead of all about the guests or anything else that may have gotten in the way. Also, you know what happened? People still dropped by to give her gifts. Don’t worry all social distancing practices were used, but that was something that really warmed my heart. No one had to do that. They weren’t going to see her or see her open the gifts. Everyone had legitimate reasons to not spend money on her but some still did. Seeing how many people still wanted to show they cared meant the world.
A Year In Review.
So in my final thoughts to you I think I’d say, this time is hard. Try not to put too much pressure on yourself and others. It’s a time no one has ever seen before and it’s okay to grieve and it’s okay to be sad that things aren’t going to be the exact way you planned them. As long as you have a good mind set in this time, you are going to be okay. Always look for hope, and always choose joy. We are in this together and I’m so ready to see all of you again. We got this.
To Miss Juniper Ezra,
You are such a smart, silly, sassy little girl and I love every moment of you. I love your personality and I love seeing you grow. I wish time would slow down just a little bit but I’m so happy I get to be your mom. Every single thing I went through to bring you into existence was worth it, and I’d do it again in an instant. You matter. You are important and you always will be. These words I write don’t do you justice and don’t do my feelings towards you justice either, but for now they will have to do. I love you Juniper.