Tuesday, October 6, 2009

One Year Old, Part Three

I'm *finally* getting around to writing about Evie's first birthday party.

So. It was a fabulous day, thanks to my parents and in-laws, who all pitched in to help us get ready. Because we were in Minnesota for a few days right before, I lost some of the time I would have used to get some shopping and cleaning chores done.

Special awards go to my parents, who both were stung by bees in our back yard while helping me clean up out there. Yes, we found bees right outside our porch on the day before Evie's party and sprayed their hive the night before. Thankfully, nobody was stung at the party, although we've continued to see live bees here and there since then and have had to spray 3 times. They have a crack to crawl through into our screened porch, so when we go out to play with Evie these days we have to first clean the carpet of dead and dying bees, since they could still sting even after death. Anyhow...

...the party was small and intimate. The attendees were Evie, us, all 4 grandparents, both godparents, G (Evie's birth father) and G's parents, sister, niece, aunt and friend. Unfortunately, R (Evie's birth mother) and her family weren't able to be there.

There is so much I could say about what it was like to have almost half of the guests be birth family. The condensed version is that it wasn't nearly as strange as many people think it would be, and it was lots of fun to see them enjoying Evie. I've said it before, and it held true on Evie's birthday: it's so awesome to have a bunch of extra people around to dote on your daughter and show interest in all of her little habits and milestones! Honestly, it was like having extended family over to visit. Yes, a bit awkward at first, but by the end of the party we were chatting freely and enjoying each other. I'm glad I can say that we've never gotten together with R and G and regretted it afterward. They are all lovely, gracious people who go out of their way to make us feel comfortable, just as we go out of our way to make them feel comfortable. It's great to be in an open adoption with genuinely nice people. I can't imagine how hard it would be if I disliked any of them.

My mom made one comment after the party, though, that gave me pause. She said (after having met G at both Evie's baptism and at this party) that it was hard to see the look in G's eyes when he looks at Evie, that it made her hurt for him. I totally agree. The look on his face is a mixture of pride, wonder, sorrow and regret. I can imagine that he looks at her and sees all of the decisions in his life that led to making an adoption plan for Evie.

So, my verdict on our open adoption, one year out, is that it is at once simpler and much more complicated than I could have imagined. I have absolutely no regrets about our level of openness and hope that we can maintain it into the future. I still want R and G there at Evie's graduations and wedding, and many small celebrations between now and then.

Back to the party...

The day of Evie's party was perfect weather and we spent a lot of it outdoors, eating and socializing, but we did presents and cake inside. Here is a shot of Evie's table of presents:
Some highlights of her gifts were building blocks from J and I: A wooden train from her godparents:

More highlights...

  • a refrigerator toy from my brother and SIL

  • a doll and noisemaker from J's brother and SIL

  • Little People Noah's Ark from Grandma and Grandpa

  • an adorable froggy dish set from Nana and Papa

  • of course, the princess cell phone from G and R

  • a teapot set from G's parents

  • a children's Bible from G's grandmother

Evie opened gifts in an adorable fluffy pink birthday dress, but we changed her into a romper for the rest of the party so that she could play outside and not get her dessert on the dress:

I tried to keep a bow in her hair (partly for looks and partly because her bangs are getting long and unruly) but this is what happens to bows these days:

Finally, the story behind Evie's birthday dessert. (For more pictures see this post.) I had debated back and forth for weeks about what to do for Evie's birthday cake. On the one hand I wanted to bake some healthy (low or no sugar) cake for her and on the other hand I wanted to spoil her with a delicious frozen custard cake from our local custard stand. Close to her birthday, I actually bought a butterfly-shaped cake pan and decor icing, planning to make a healthy-ish cake myself. I ran out of time, and that pan and icing went back to the store.
Anyhow, the day before Evie's birthday we found out that our local custard place can't write on top of its frozen custard pies, and all of a sudden we were bereft of ideas and officially winging the dessert.
Finally, I decided to trust the task to my mom and dad and they headed out on a birthday dessert mission on the morning of the party. After communicating with them via cell phone (I was at home cleaning and decorating), what we ended up with was a frozen custard pie for the adults (flavor = turtle = YUM) and a clown cone from B*askin R*obbins for Evie. The clown cone didn't have a candle or writing, but what it lacked in birthday tradition it made up for in DELICIOUS. Evie polished off the entire thing, except for the sugar cone. At one point she was actually crying between bites, in an effort to encourage her Papa to shovel the ice cream in faster Faster FASTER! This picture was taken before she realized it was food:

Sorry this post was so scattered, I'm just glad I finally got it written! One Year Old, Part Four (last post in this series) is in the works and will hopefully be posted soon.


  1. Precious girl, great pics! My mouth was hanging open because you typed out my thoughts regarding birth family at Dec's party. It was not nearly as awkward as I pictured it might be. And....my mom made the SAME EXACT comment about the look in D's birth dad's eyes. Thanks for sharing.

  2. It sounds like a wonderful day. How awesome that on this milestone, Evie was surrounded by people who love her so.


I love comments! If you ask a question, I'll probably reply in the comment thread, and I try to visit the blogs of everyone who comments.

My Shelfari Bookshelf

Shelfari: Book reviews on your book blog