Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Birthday, London!!

It seems like just yesterday we were at the birthing center, taking this picture, and preparing to go home with our tiny stranger:

In the past year we have marveled at every little smile...

... every accomplishment, big or small...

... and have grown and learned right alongside our little guy.

We laugh more...

... delight more...

... and enjoy more than we thought possible.

London amazes us!

He is confident and chatty,

independent and willful,

snuggly and affectionate, and

boisterous and bubbly!

We have had such an amazing first year together!

And this is just the beginning! We can't wait to see what happens next!

On Saturday we hosted his first birthday party. We decided that there would be many years to come where a Halloween theme would be the easy option for his party, so we might as well take advantage while we could and do whatever we wanted while he is still young enough not to know the difference. So the theme was "English Nursery Rhymes." The invitation read "Please join us for some nursery rhyme fun and a Ploughman's Lunch. It's an English celebration for our American boy!" You can't name your kid, London, and not acknowledge it in some way or other!

Red, white, and blue balloons and streamers in the shape of the Union Jack provided the decor, along with a chalkboard (think "English pub"), and nursery rhyme cards placed around the food. You know, "Humpty Dumpty" right beside the deviled eggs, "Jack and Jill" near the drinks, etc. Our big, pink, stuffed pig that guards the entryway to our house was also decked out with a sign that read, "This little piggy went to London's party." I should've taken a picture of Pig; he looked really cute. But a forgot. Oh well...

A ploughman's lunch is basically a build-your-own-platter of lunch-type items such as:

ham, turkey, chips (crisps, if we're going to do this right!)

mini pastries (or in our case, mini quiches)

eggs and veggies

and fresh fruit.

Mmmm... food... I also put out pickled onions and an English condiment called Branston pickle, which is a yummy addition to ham and cheese. The bread rolls were fresh out of the oven and smelled delicious! They tasted pretty good, too.

London had a ball! He hung out with everyone and was happy to be passed around from person to person to say hello.

He loved playing with his friends...

... and didn't seem at all phased by the fact that there were so many extra people in our house!

We snuck in a quick family portrait and then...

... time for cake! My friend, Linnea, helped me decorate this Union Jack cake the night before. We ordered a chocolate cake with white frosting from Costco and bought the M&Ms from the party store. It took us quite some time and we were seeing spots by the time we were done.

London didn't actually get to enjoy any of that cake. He had his very own cupcake instead!

He wasn't sure what to do about the fact that everyone was singing to him.

But he did enjoy the cake!

We waited until everyone left to open presents.

London enjoyed testing them out.

This classic Fisher Price popper is his new best friend!

So there you have it. One year down. It's actually a huge relief for me. Not just because we "made it" or even because we "survived," but because it's behind us and we can move on from here. I feel like the first year is a lot of countdowns and milestones and questions from people and comparisons between your child and other's. There's a lot of expectations with the first year and as much as people mean well, it's hard not to feel like you're under a microscope at times. Everyone has opinions, everyone has advice, and everyone is the first to tell you not to listen to other people's opinions and advice - that everyone's experience is different. It's exhausting, to say the least.

We are still having sleep issues. We thought we had achieved the much anticipated "sleeping through the night" for good over the summer, but London's first cold in August threw him back to what felt like square one as we struggled to regain the sleep that we thought was here to stay. His second cold was the nail in the sleep coffin... I've pretty much resigned myself to the fact that I'll never sleep again.

I'm still nursing and am very proud of the fact that I've kept up with it despite a very rocky start, constant supply issues, going back to work, biting issues, and concerns about L's weight gain. My goal was one year. The pressure is off now and I can rest assured that I gave him the best I could for his first year. Where we go from here is up to him. I don't plan to wean him immediately, but I am anxious to pack away my breast pump (sorry, tmi) and put that phase of babyhood behind me.

One year down, many more to go... Can't wait! :)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Photo Shoot!

We had an engagement session to shoot this weekend, so we pulled out our white backdrop and set up our "home studio" for the indoor pictures. The shoot went well. They were a really nice couple and we had a good time taking pictures here and also around Leesburg. You can see pictures on our Blue Square blog. So we figured since we'd gone to the trouble to transform London's sunroom into a studio, we might as well take advantage of it and take some portraits of our little man. It's unreal to think that he's almost ONE!! Just a few more days until his party... it's unbelievable. Truly.

So here he is... our baby is now a toddler. (Sniff!)

L is just getting over the double whammy of drool: a cold and teething. Ick.

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the smile on his face in this one! Pure joy!

We bought him this super cute dragon costume for his first (although, technically, his second - but the first one doesn't quite count as he was only one day old) Halloween. Then he started playing with a toy car. Dragon or Godzilla? Hmmm...

Either way - he's a happy little monster!

My friend, Diane, lent me her son's pumpkin costume from when he was a baby. We took some cute pictures with our little pumpkin... and yes, he is a little pumpkin. Diane's son filled this costume out at 5 and a 1/2 months! It's true... I've seen the pictures! :)

Next up: It's party time!!