How We Celebrated Amalia’s 1st Birthday

Amalia’s 1st birthday has come and gone, but I still have all of the feels about it. I had no idea how emotional this milestone would make me, and I cried pretty much every day for a week leading up to the big day. It’s tapering off now but woah, that was a rollercoaster! I’m not totally sure why, but I think it’s a mix of the emotion of surviving the first year and overwhelming pride. On her actual birthday, I was a hot mess, pretty much tearing up whenever I looked at her.

A friend of mine said she thinks it’s muscle memory, and your brain subconsciously remembers labor and those first crazy few days with a newborn. Either way

Anel and I both took off the afternoon, picked her up early from daycare, and spent a few fun hours together to celebrate. While she napped we put together her presents in her playroom (see below for deets) and let her eat cake for the first time which was probably the highlight of the day.

It was a really special day for all of us! Here are some more details…

Smash Cake
Ok sometimes I feel like the most un-mommylike mom of all time. Last week a friend of mine asked where I was getting Amalia’s smash cake and I literally had to Google it. I mean can’t you just get your kid a regular cake these days? Answer: No. JK but a smash cake is way more fun because they’re made with the intention of smashing them up easily.

Amalia had no idea what to do and kept just licking frosting off of the top, so we had to get in there and help her smash it haha. Once we smashed it up for her, she went nuts and was so excited to be eating something so delicious. About five minutes into it she started dancing and laughing like a crazy person slash had a true sugar high. About an hour later she threw up… You win some you lose some.

The cake we got was super cute but next time around I think I would make the cake myself. Smash cakes, it turns out, are not cheap, and maybe if I made it slightly healthy, we could skip the puking part of the program but who knows!

Dinner Date
For dinner, we took her to Bartaco, her favortie local restaurant. She loves the food (steak quesadillas and guacamole mainly) but also loves that the restaurant is full of giant ceiling fans. She’s fan obsessed! They’re also super kid friendly which makes it easy for us to bring her there. When we take her to dinner, we go at 5pm so we can get home for bedtime without a meltdown. We bring a suction plate for her to eat off of and a book or two for her to play with before the food comes. Now I’m thinking I need a whole post about how to dine out with a baby. I’ve learned a lot about how to do it successfully.

Anel and I are both very much in alignment with not wanting to spoil our daughter even though it’s hard and most of the time we want to give her everything she wants! So for her birthday we bought her a cute tent for her playroom, five new Sandra Boynton board books for her to read in it (her favorites), and that was it. We scoured the internet for the cutest tent but found that this $40 one from Amazon was our favorite.

We also knew that our families and friends would be buying her a lot of stuff which is another reason that we kept it pretty low key. As their presents arrived, we tried to give her one or two things a day instead of everything at once on her birthday. I don’t know if that did anything to help but it made every day leading up to it exciting!

My mom bought her this adorable Anywhere Chair with her name on it which she just adores. She crawls up onto it and “reads” her books constantly. We ended up putting the chair in the tent so she has her own little fort. I’m going to take pictures of it in her playroom and share those soon so you can see the whole set up.

She also gave her a water table after so many of you guys recommended that we get one for summer. So far it’s been a rainy week so we only got to play with it once but she was all about it. Word to the wise, put on a swim diaper for this situation. We learned the hard way!

My dad and his wife bought her a whole slew of adorable clothes from Janie and Jack (including this cutie ruffle terry cloth romper for the beach which is currently on sale for $14!) as well as this cute walker/first bike thing that she loves pushing up and down the hall. They also gave her some new books including The Giant Jam Sandwich which is a fun one to read.

Friends gave her toys, clothes, a beach towel, books, and lots of monogrammed goodies which we just love! So many people bought her presents, I had no idea it was coming. Even our cleaning lady bought her this sweet dress.

My sister and in-laws are coming this weekend and I can’t wait to see what they bring for her. Watching your child get gifts is way better than getting them yourself.

Her 1st Birthday Party
Originally we had planned for a big party this Saturday, but I ended up cancelling it for a few reasons. One, most of our friends and family are out of town this weekend so the turnout would have been pretty small. Two, I realized that throwing the party was causing me more anxiety than necessary and she wouldn’t even fully understand it anyway!

So instead, we’re going to celebrate with just family this weekend since my sister will be in town. My in-laws and cousin are coming out from the city for a BBQ and we’ll keep it super casual and low key. We’re going to celebrate next week in Martha’s Vineyard with my dad and that side of the family!

Next year when she understands more about her birthday and the celebration, I’ll throw her a fun themed party but for now, this just made more sense for us.

Details from this Post
Her outfit: Shrimp and Grits Kids Bubble monogrammed by Monogram Mary
Her chair: Pottery Barn Kids
Smashcake: Flour Love Sweets
Turkish Beach Towel (under smash cake): Serena & Lily

I’m so grateful for Julia who came over to take some photos on her special day. We will have and cherish these forever. I’ve already printed half of them for frames around our house and Amalia’s baby book!

Photos by Julia Dags.

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  1. EM said:

    I had never heard of smash cakes when I still lived in the US but became aware of them in recent years. I think it’s a newish thing?

    Personally I don’t get the concept of a nice cake where the purpose is to get ruined. If one is going to do something like this at least a tiny little cupcake so there isn’t as much expense and food wastage.

    (Not intended as a personal attack but every time I come back to the US I notice a lot of food wastage and this really bothers me, as I now live in a place that is well-to-do now but relatives of mine here were literally starving at one point due to war.)

    7.27.18 · Reply
  2. Laura said:

    Happy Birthday, Amalia! Thanks for making me feel like I’m not the only one who didn’t do a huge first birthday party – I kept it limited to my son’s aunt and uncle and grandparents. I just didn’t want the extra stress or have him overwhelmed either! Maybe next year now that he has a better recollection of his friends and family.

    7.27.18 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      You and me both! It was the best decision for us for sure!

      7.31.18 · Reply
  3. Gretchen Hershberger said:

    I LOVED Sandra Boynton books as a kid, and now I give them as gifts to friends/family who have little ones.

    7.27.18 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      They’re the best! We love them so much.

      7.31.18 · Reply
  4. Beth said:

    Happy birthday, Amalia! It sounds like you had a lovely day. I didn’t know what a water table was, so I watched the video on the link you provided. The woman who narrated the description was a hoot!

    Amalia seems like such an easy-going and happy girl.

    I love that she’s such a reader. I have to plug my favorite book as a little girl, A Little Princess, by Frances Hodgson Burnett. It transported me when I read it, I will never forget the joy that book brought me. (I lived in another country at the time, and it was an escape from the political unrest and civil war going on around me.) I try to give it to every little girl I know. My niece was ruined, and saw the Disney movie before reading the book with me! The horror! The book was magical.

    Enjoy your celebrations this weekend!

    7.27.18 · Reply
  5. Emily said:

    Yes please!! Please make a post about dining out with babies. I have a son about Amalia’s age, and we cannot dine out with him. We’ve got no idea how to successfully navigate restaurants with him, and I bet this is a common problem for a lot of parents. I’d love to hear more about what you’ve learned on this, and it’d be valuable to share it with other moms.

    7.31.18 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      You got it! Will be in the next month or two 🙂 What are your issues with your son so I can try to address those in the post?

      7.31.18 · Reply
  6. Lisa said:

    Hi Julia, I’m curious as to how the bottle weaning is going. My daughter is the same age as Amalia. I haven’t been able to drop a bottle or have her drink her milk from a sippy cup. Could you share your suggestions or tips? Which sippy cups have you found success with? We have the miracle 360 cups, but my daughter seems to prefer a regular glass or the bottle. Thanks!

    9.4.18 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      This question couldn’t have come at a better time. I (literally!) just finished writing tomorrow’s blog post that goes DEEP into this topic. I cover everything about the cups and where we are!

      9.4.18 · Reply
      • Lisa said:

        Thanks Julia! Looking forward to reading your post

        9.4.18 · Reply