Monday, February 09, 2009

eerste verjaardagsfeestje

zij is jarig!

how old are you, gracie? are you one?

i can hardly believe it's been a year since gracie was born. where did the time go? you all told me it was going to fly by, but between all the diaper changes, feedings, boo-boos, and bottles, not to mention the endless pile of laundry and dishes, i honestly haven't had a moment to reflect on what you really meant when you said that! now her first year has passed, and she's no longer a baby! she's really a little girl, close to walking, feeding herself, and sleeping through the night. she hardly needs me anymore!

but still, despite my pining for the "good old days" of spit-up and sleepless nights, i am proud of our little girl. and soooo happy to see the person she is becoming, to watch her personality evolve every day. let's have a party to celebrate!

the day started off beautifully, with tons of sunshine (just like on the day she was born!). we all had breakfast together (like we do practically every morning), and then opened some presents from oma and opa. afterwards adam ran out to do some grocery shopping while i got dressed. we decided to let gracie stay in her jammies until it was party time, because a) it's always fun to hang out in your jammies, b) it was her birthday so therefore she is allowed to have more fun than usual, and c) there was no sense in getting her dressed before the party cuz odds are she'd be sticky and messy by the time the party started and we'd have to change her again anyway. so, stay in your jammies, gracie! it's your day, after all!

i finally got tired of seeing her hair in her beautiful gray-green eyes all the time, so i dug out my scissors and plopped her in her high chair for her very first haircut. up until now it hasn't been necessary, because i've been able to put her hair into super cute pigtails or ponytails, with little barettes and clips and bows and stuff. adorable, really! but in the last few weeks, she's discovered the top of her head. and so if there's something there, she will naturally pull it out and examine it. which means her bangs have been falling in her face, and even when she's clean she still tends to look like a little ragamuffin. so, no more piggies or ponies for a while. it's time for baby's first haircut! (and ps, it wasn't as hard as i thought it would be. i just put her in her high chair, gave her a toy to examine, and cut away. the hardest part was her bangs, of course, because she couldn't see when my hands were in her face. but we took our time and it actually looks pretty good! i might have found my next career -- baby haircutter!)

after an early lunch and an early nap, adam and i finished cleaning the house. i mopped while he did the dishes and put away groceries, and we hung up some balloons and a streamer thingy that said "hoera ik ben jarig" (hooray it's my birthday!). when gracie woke up and came downstairs and saw that thing hanging on the wall, along with all the balloons laying around, she let out a VERY happy scream! adam also took the time during nap to make gracie a doodlebugmonster. adam has this great creative art project he does for my birthday every year, where he makes me a ridiculous birthday hat out of whatever he can find in the recycling bin. so this year, he wanted to make something for gracie too. but because she doesn't "do" hats, he wanted to make her a toy. i should have taken a picture of the final product, but you can just imagine where he was going with such a crazy start like this...

after she woke up, i got her all dressed up in her very special fairy princess outfit that gracie and i had picked out together earlier in the week. ("gracie, do you like THIS tutu, or THIS one?" "gracie, which tiara do you like better?" "gracie, do you think these wings are cute enough?") we came downstairs and waited for our special guests to arrive: robin and tygo from gracie's baby yoga class, along with their mamas, were the second ones to get here -- valerie had arrived by train during mg's nap and helped us set up before everyone else got here. immediately after tygo and robin showed up, aimee (who celebrated thanksgiving with us and works with adam) and federica (also from adam's work) got here too! the whole gang! the only ones missing were petra and eva (petra is adam's colleague, and eva is her daughter), but they arrived just in time to eat some cake so they didn't miss anything important!

gracie opened several small little gifts that some of her friends brought for her -- she got a tea set, some bubbles, a beautiful little ladybug ring that she can wear when she gets a bit older, a chocolate nijntje which i think mama and daddy will have to confiscate and inspect more carefully with some ice cream, and a really wonderful cd that valerie made for her: every song has either "mary" or "grace" in the title, and there are about a half-dozen different versions of "amazing grace" on it too. how special! thanks for the thoughtful gifts, everyone!

before we served the cake -- or CAKES, i mean -- we sang happy birthday to gracie. first in dutch, then in english:

then i made a little toast in dutch, which was really not good, but everyone understood it (or at least were polite enough to nod their heads in agreement like they understood what i was saying), and then we dished up! lekker, hoor!

i made gracie a sugar-free cake out of bananas, applesauce (i cooked apples and ground them up so that even the applesauce would be sugar-free), whole wheat flour, and wheat germ. it weighed a ton and tasted like hippie dippie vegan crap. but gracie really liked it, and that is what is most important. it was perfect for a baby, because it was heavy and chewy, so the kids could gum on it all they wanted, and it was healthy too. the frosting was cream cheese mixed with real maple syrup (not common out here, so i had to track it down at a health-foods store). and i decorated it with raisins and love. awwww.

thank goodness federica made another grown-up friendly cake. it was a homemade orange cake, dusted with powdered sugar. i really should have taken a picture of it cuz it was soooo cute. and tastydeliciousyummers too. thanks, fede! you saved the day!

then we all played with blocks, balloons, bubbles, and bells. it was a pile of people in our house, all crouched down on the floor eating cake and playing with babies. too fun!

after dinner that night (we had boerenkool, which is one of gracie's FAVORITESTEST EVER) we all walked over to the ice cream shop next door. we can see it from our front window. we looked pretty ridiculous leaving the house in the state we were in: adam in his polar bear jammiepants, me in an oversized hoodie, and gracie in her tutu. thank goodness valerie was looking presentable or they might have thrown us out of the place! i ordered strawberry ice cream and shared it with gracie, who was VERY tired, but still excited for the adventures we were on.

what a good girl she is! all day long, she shared her toys, talked to our guests, played with her friends, and was in a good mood. we are so proud of her! she could not have been a more perfect child that day. absolutely incredible!

i know that every birthday in the future will almost certainly be celebrated in the usa, and that we may not have very many opportunities to see our dutch friends once we move to texas. but this day was very special, and it is one that i will never forget. i am grateful that we were able to celebrate our daughter's birth in the same house in which she was born, surrounded by people who love and adore gracie almost as much as we do. what a happy day it was for all of us!


Kathleen said...

happy happy first birthday mary grace! we wish that we could've had a bite of the hippy-dippy cake! love from georgia, malachi and emilia

teresa said...

Oh, love love love! I do wish I was there for this special first birthday. But I'll be there for the next ones!