Celebrating Emma’s birthday has been a big deal to me since the day she was born. I have been planning her first party since she was still in my belly. It wasn’t hard to figure out the theme or even the food and decorations. What I hadn’t really thought about or even realized was that her party would be on a Saturday. And her birthday would be on a Friday. Um, oops? How could I forget to make plans to celebrate my daughter’s actual birthday? Crazy I know. Luckily we realized our faux pas about a month before the big day so we began planning away. We knew we didn’t want to spend a whole lot of money but we wanted to have fun memories to look back on as she grew. What to do, what to do…
The day of her birthday, Emma woke us up around 7am to cuddle. Mornings with Emma are my absolute favorite. She wakes up crying but not to eat. She wants to snuggle with mommy and daddy. She curls up beside us and goes to sleep. Watching her is truly a beautiful thing. Around 7:45 or 8, I make her get up and eat but sometimes she’ll wake up on her own. For her birthday, she woke up all by herself. She must have known it was a big day. After all, she’s 1 now. She can make decisions all by her big girl self, or so she thinks. After we finished breakfast, daddy went out to get her new pool set up and ready. We found this on sale at Target for $8 and it was normally $30. I was on cloud nine when I saw it. Sure enough, Emma loved it, too. It took her awhile to adapt to the water. She’s a bath time baby and was unsure of cold water. What is she suppose to do with that? She was a little fussy at first but once Allie jumped in, she was on board with the plan. She played and played and Allie joined in with her. Once Allie was ready to get out, so was Emma. Like peas in a pod.
We got cleaned up and decided to make our way down to Bays Mountain. We thought a stroll around would be fun and give her a chance to see some animals she hadn’t seen before that day. She slept on the way down and when we were arrived, we were greeted in the parking lot by a deer. A live deer. A deer that was NOT in a cage. It. Was. Awesome! We were so very excited to see it and so was Emma. She talked to it and asked multiple times, “what’s that?” Typically Emma fashion. The deer mingled around for a little bit and then we made our way to see the other animals in the park. We stumbled upon the other deer that was IN a cage. I felt sorry for it. It was all by itself while everyone else got to run free. I’m not sure he felt so bad though. Living it up with free food isn’t too bad of a life. Next, we saw the bobcat. We looked and looked and couldn’t find him and then he stretched and we saw him as plain as day. Emma was definitely interested. It always amazes me how cats of all kinds act the same and with such elegance. The next thing we visited was the wolf den. There were six wolf pups there. While five slept, the other stood watch. They were lazy like Allie so I’m surprised Emma didn’t yell her name. Other than size and color, they had a lot in common. We made a few more stops along the way until we reached the otter area. We were so disappointed. No otters were out to play and no matter what we did, they wouldn’t come. I considered throwing in some food until I thought I could be arrested. I didn’t want to be arrested on Emma’s birthday. That is NOT the kind of memory I want to make for her on this special day. We spent the rest of our time touring the grounds and going inside checking out all they had. Emma just liked being carried around and taking everything in, one thing at a time. I think her favorite part was the stuffed animals in the gift shop. Of course. Bring her to the wilderness and she wants the fake stuff. After we finished up there, we headed on back to the car to make our way home for Emma’s birthday dinner.
After we finished our dinner, made up of all kinds of beans for Emma, we decided to sing a rendition of “Happy Birthday” and let Emma open her gifts. She didn’t know what to think about all of it. She would pull at the tissue paper out and just stare at it. Did mom and dad really get me paper for my birthday? I’m sure she was very intrigued. JR would pull out her gifts…and she would go right back to the paper. You can lead a horse to water…well, you know the rest.
Finally, the moment had arrived. The pièce de résistance- ice cream. We decided to let Emma give ice cream a try and have her first taste on her first birthday. She enjoyed it. Not as much as beans, but she definitely enjoyed it. After letting her have two or three bites, we told her it was time to call it quits. I know, we’re mean parents. If you had only seen how many beans she ate you would understand. Things were quickly getting out of control. After we calmed her down, she went back to playing with all her new gifts and had a good ole time. Once it was bedtime, she reached up to her daddy, laid in his arms, and went to sleep. What a birthday!
There are a couple of things that we did for this birthday that we think are important. First off, we didn’t spent a ton of money. We tried to do things that were cheap and easy to do. The pool and trip to Bays Mountain cost us $12 (not counting gas). As far as gifts go, we got the majority of them at Wee Cycle It, on clearance, or for free. We only paid full price for one of them and that was $15. The next thing we did was start traditions with Emma. For her birthday, we want to have family time. There will be some years she may not be crazy about it, but we are. This is not only a special day to her but to us. It’s the day God gave us one of the biggest blessings we’ve ever received! It doesn’t mean that some birthdays won’t be shared with others, but we plan to always have a special time on that day just for us as family. A reminder of all the wonderful things God has given us. The last, and possibly my favorite, tradition we started was Bible reading nightly with Emma. She’s at the age now that she’s starting to take it all in and enjoys looking at the pictures in her Bible, too. It was so precious watching JR read it to her. We plan on reading a story each night and then once we’re done, we’ll start over. It’s perfect for her age group and attention span. Definitely one of my favorite gifts we ever received! If you want to check it out, this is the one we have.
What did you do for your child’s first birthday?