Holy cow, folks, ONE YEAR – we made it!!!
When I look back at photos of Lincoln from when he was just a few days old, I am flooded with so many different emotions and can put myself right back in that hospital room feeling more joy than I ever knew existed coupled with sheer panic. I’d just had a baby. NOW WHAT?!
Before I get into what’s on My Mommy Mind this month, I want to share a few pictures from Lincoln’s birthday party a few weeks ago. (You can see a few here, too >>)
As I mentioned, we kept things really low key and my Mom helped out a ton with the food (which I took one picture of!) Ben and I covered the grill, veggies, chips, dips, and pasta salad. She brought the fruit, baked beans, and a few other things. That food part was kind of a blur to be honest. I am such a nervous entertainer but for that day, Lincoln’s birthday, I said to heck with worrying about the menu, how clean the house was, etc. All I wanted to do was focus on him!
I got a bunch of balloons from the grocery store and used those to decorate the house and back deck with. They were cheap and whimsical. Perfect! For the entertainment I had a slideshow of pictures from my iPhone running through Apple TV. It was so fun reliving hundreds, actually make that 1,000+ (I know,) of precious moments from the past year.
Lincoln’s cousins helped him open all his gifts including some Hawkeye gear, obviously.
And a big Anywhere Chair from Pottery Barn Kids. He loves that thing! Actually, he really loves climbing on it then jumping off onto his oversized stuffed dog, Pal. Boys will be boys!
After presents and a delicious BBQ dinner it was time for the main event. The cake smash!
Since I went low key with the decorations and outsourced half the menu to my Mom, I shamed myself into making a homemade cake. It actually took very little effort – maybe 5 more minutes then a box mix. Lincoln is allergic to dairy so I made a dairy-free yellow birthday cake (I’m sorry I don’t remember the recipe source – it was a random Google find!) and poured the batter into two Pyrex prep dishes I already had. After they were baked and cooled I sliced off the tops to even the layers out.
Next I made a coconut oil-based icing (again, another Google find,) then tinted it blue for the birthday boy and iced away.
Bahaha! Yeeeeah. Note to self: don’t try and frost a cake with coconut oil based-frosting on an 85 degree day because it will have the consistency of sludge. I was upset for about a minute before remembering that the whole thing was going to be destroyed by a one year old later that day. Cest la vie!
We all gathered on the back deck then I planted Lincoln on a big vinyl square for easy clean up and placed the cake in front of him. He gingerly swiped the icing with his finger before giving it a little taste. It’s obvious what happened next!
Top 5 moments of my life thus far. He put on such a show!
Afterwards we let the kids splash, -er clean off, at the water table then the birthday boy promptly crashed at 6:30pm. First birthday party could not have gone any better. I’m so glad we went for a low key bash which really allowed us to be present for every single moment of Lincoln’s special day. Wouldn’t have changed a thing!
Well maybe that icing…
Now like I said, I truly don’t know where an entire year has gone and I could have never imagined that it’d be filled with so many ups, downs, highs, and lows. At times I never thought I’d see the light at the end of the tunnel. I remember plucking my eyebrows in the sunlight of the family room windows at 11am with a 3 week old strapped to my chest wondering if I’d ever be able to pluck them, you know, in a bathroom again. Alone. And not get cross eyed in the process from lack of sleep.
I recently got together with a friend who has a new baby and as soon as she walked in the door she took me by the shoulders and said, why didn’t anyone tell me it’d be so hard?! It’s truly an experience that’s hard to understand until you go through it yourself. Thankfully, I told her, it gets easier. Here’s how I’d break down year one!
Month 1-4: SURVIVAL
Schedule? What schedule? Can someone tell my newborn he’s supposed to be on a schedule? Also that adults like to sleep at night? Because I think he missed the memo. Nothing can prepare you for the complete 180 your life will take after having a baby. It will be filled with unmeasurable amounts of love but, uh, zero sleep. Your old life is out the window. Your day is not your own. Did I mention zero sleep? I mean, I remember going days and days without driving because it wouldn’t have been safe!
Being a new parent is a beautiful thing but frankly, despite all the books I read and prep classes we took I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I don’t want to be overly dramatic about being a first time parent, but it’s no joke!
Months 5-7: Releasing Expectations.
In the early months I tortured myself by pouring over baby books and websites. Try this. Try that. He should be doing this. You should be doing that. ARG! Around the fifth month I started taking everything with a grain of salt because there is NO magic formula for raising a child. The second I lowered my expectations life started to smooth itself out. Lincoln started sleeping through the night, got more independent, slipped into a predictable schedule, and I started getting more used to my “new normal.” There was life after baby!
8-12: Let the Fun Begin.
Giggles, wrestling, crawling, eating, babbling, waving, kissing, jumping, tickling – I can see the light at the end of the tunnel! These past four months have been like a reward for all the messy, hard work that comes along with having a newborn. Although I know our jobs have only just begun, it’s a truly awesome feeling knowing that we’ve made it through the first year.
I repeatedly asked my friends with multiple children when they knew they were ready for another one (because the idea was unfathomable for so many months!) and they all said get through the first year. Now that I’m here I can finally see what they were talking about. Having a one year old is completely different than having a newborn. Not saying we’re ready to have more kids any time soon but the thought doesn’t make me want to run screaming in the opposite direction anymore. :)
This has been the hardest but most fulfilling year of my life. While I had no idea what I was getting myself into, being a Mom is better than I could have ever imagined. This silly, sweet, snuggly goofball is a gift that I will never take for granted and I’m so proud to be his Mom. I can’t wait to see what kind of little boy he’ll become.
Thank you for all your notes and support throughout the year. I have read every encouraging comment and taken them all to heart. More to come on the Family Channel including toddler-approved recipes – so stay tuned!
In the meantime, here are some of my favorite helpful posts on the Family Channel from this past year!