Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Evelyn's 1st Birthday

It's hard for me to process that a year has already gone by since I gave birth to my daughter. So much has happened in the past 12 months, that I feel like I blinked and Evelyn went from a tiny newborn to a sweet toddler.

I won't lie, even a year later I'm happy I am not pregnant anymore and very relieved the labor and delivery part is long gone. It was a miserable pregnancy, an easy labor, and a terrifying postpartum experience. I do not miss her constant feeding, the soreness that followed giving birth, or the long journey it took to reclaim my body as my own, but there are so many things I do yearn for. I wish she was still small enough to fit in her Rock N Play, I wish I could gaze upon those beautiful newborn eyes again, I wish I could sit with her for hours on the couch and have her content just to cuddle.

But life demands we march on, happy to do so or not. Now, twelve short months after Alex and I heard the news:
"It's a girl!"

We have a walking, chewing, curious tot who brings such a joy to our lives. Landon might take up most of our attention - he's just that kind of kid - but Evie holds her own and she makes our family complete.

Since today is a Wednesday, we celebrated her birthday on Sunday. She had to fight her brother to be able to open her own presents, but she seemed to have a good time regardless. She especially enjoyed having a piece of cake all to her own.

My baker was completely booked up for the month of October, so I had to make her cake myself. I did two practice runs, and both times the finished piece was a letdown. I just can't get a good handle on German ovens. They are smaller than I'm used to, and the temperatures fluctuate causing my food not to cook evenly. However, her real cake turned out great and if I had been able to get the purple coloring down the dessert would have been a complete success. As it was, the frosting ended up being more gray in color.
Oh well, she still got to indulge the sugary goodness.

I count that as a win.

My brother and sister in law and nephews came over to celebrate with us, and Alex and I decided to take them to the Burgerhouse for dinner. Unfortunately, when we arrived we were told we couldn't eat because we hadn't made a reservation. We had no idea we needed to do that!
So, alas, we ended up ordering our food to go and parted ways with our family. And then on the drive home, there was an accident on the autobahn so we took a different route home. It ended up taking us almost 45 minutes to reach our house when it otherwise would have been 15-20.
Oh well, what's a good party if it doesn't include an unexpected surprise?

The craziest thing about the whole incident, though, was that Alex and I were able to get ourselves back to our village without the GPS. All we did was follow signs for villages we recognized.

That means we know our way around the local area.

For a military family, that's a BIG step.

That's part of settling into a new town.

That's integrating yourself with your surroundings.

That's a step away from: "I'm from here" and a leap towards: "I live here."

It was a big deal for me.

Anyways, back to the subject to the subject at hand.

I learned the hard way with Landon that a first birthday is more than just a milestone for a child. It's a sign that the little one is leaving babyhood behind and jumping forward into:


I know everyone has their opinion on which age is the toughest.

There's the terrible twos and the threenager years, and while those are proving challenging, they are NOTHING compared to Age 1.

1 to 2 years old is just 12 straight months of the kid opening every door, cabinet, drawer they can find.
It's them insisting on walking everywhere even though they move SO SLOW.
It's them starting to develop tastes and opinions so it's constantly food thrown on the floor and screaming protestations over jackets.
It's them wanting to sleep through the night but not quite ready to give up that 4am snuggle.
It's the doctors telling you to count every word and keep up with how their fine motor skills are, because this is the time to figure out if they are on track or falling behind.
It's them starting to get bruises and scrapes and the beginning of you fighting your instinct to rush them to the hospital or wait it out.

It's a hard flipping age.

I was never so relieved as when Landon turned 2.

I understand this year is important. I get it.
I remember all my Education Psych and Child Development classes. I know what they are doing now is shaping them up to handle the 2 and 3 year old years.

But it doesn't change the fact that it sucks.
Baby locks have to be dug out and installed.

Redirection has to happen 80 thousand times a day.

Struggling to hold them in a busy crowd as they scream to get down has to happen.

If anything, as Evie starts to display these traits more and more every day, it makes me miss her first year. As she woke up this morning and gave me a big toothy smile, I couldn't help but feel nostalgic for that little bundle of warmth that I could set down on her boppy and watch as I did the dishes.

It's hard to watch them grow up, especially on birthdays.

But here's to hoping Evie's 12 to 24 months goes a bit smoother than Landon's did. 

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