Celebrating a year

Baby Carter is all grown up.

OK, maybe not ALL grown up...he can't walk or talk intelligently or pretty much do anything yet, but he is totally NOT a baby anymore.

He has left that phase behind, and moved right into chatting up a storm in baby words, cruising all the furniture, "playing" with Hunter and communicating with us- I swear he says "all done" clear as day.

I guess NOW is the time to stop calling him Baby Carter.

I'll work on that just as soon as I've figure out how to keep him small and squishy and snuggly forever.

Despite my lack of planning or having-my-shit-together-ness, we managed to celebrated his 1st year over the weekend with a BBQ with a small group of family and friends.

I managed to pull out most of the stuff I had hoarded from Hunter's 1st birthday party, so luckily I didn't have to do too much by the way of crafts (because who has time for that?). Luckily no one mentioned how familiar all our decorations looked....maybe they forgot from 2 years ago...or maybe they were being polite.

Either way, we had a great party...which unfortunately, Carter didn't enjoy very much.  He had a fever all weekend and was feeling pretty poor.  He wanted his mom (aka ME) to carry him at all times and of course, I couldn't say no to my poor little birthday boy.

So, Carter and I spent a lot of quality time (quite literally) joined at the hip all weekend.

Then my chiropractor and I spent some quality time on Monday trying to straighten me out again.
Little man has some food allergies (because I apparently only makes babies who can't tolerate one of my main and most loved food groups- dairy), so I made him a vegan birthday cake- which he wasn't that into.

To be honest, I wasn't that into it either...I tried a new recipe for a banana & apple sauce cake which was more like a dense, bland muffin.  So, to counteract the blah-ness of the cake, I went all in on the vegan frosting- with real sugar (lots of it), but even that couldn't make him excited about the cake. 

He smashed a bit, but mostly was just not into it.

I won't even bother giving you the recipe, because it was not worth repeating, and I don't want someone to google "Vegan 1st Birthday Smash Cake" (like I did) and get mislead into a disappointing cake.

The only thing I will say, is that Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks made a darn good butter replacer in buttercream frosting.

At least we got a few "smash pictures".... along with the one of him screaming his head off (because I put him down- obviously).

When I was holding him, he was mostly zoned out. This is the best birthday picture we could manage. Hunter, who is noticeably absent, was yelling to me just out of the shot "I don't have time to take pictures while I'm playing" which pretty much sums up his whole life.

On Carter's actual birthday (Friday), we did a low key birthday celebration with just our little family.
To me, a 1st birthday means new shoes.

At 1 year old, kids have either just started walking or are about to start, so good new walking shoes are a must. Little man got outfitted with some new shoes for the fall, both semi-soft and hard soled, so as he gets more proficient at walking he can transition to full on hard-sole big boy shoes.

In case you are in the market, my favorite brands for new walking shoes are See Kai Run & Stride Rite. I also love Freshly Picked moccasins, but those aren't structured at all- so he's been wearing those a ton in the last year (those rank pretty high on my list of gifts for a new baby).

Outside of shoes, we also got him a hand-me-down nightlight. Hunter has one and loves it, so when there was on up for grabs on my Buy Nothing group, I snagged it and wrapped it up as a birthday gift.

Outside of new shoes from us and the grandparents, we asked all of our party guests to bring donations of diapers for a local charity, Westside Baby. We started this tradition when Hunter had his first birthday and we plan to continue it with age appropriate donations each year.

Our children have more than they could ever need, so we decided to ask all of our friends and family to turn their gifts to our kids into donations of diapers for children in need- their cumulative buying power can really make an impact.

I read an article that really stuck with me after Hunter was born (I can't find the exact one now, but this has the main points). It was about low income families and how affording diapers was incredibly difficult, and that 1 in 12 moms had intentionally left their child in a soiled diaper or REUSED a diaper in an attempt to stretch their diapers as long as possible. That broke my heart.

No parent should have to make that choice, so I figured we could help provide diapers for others so they are able to keep their babies clean and healthy. Luckily our friends and family have got on board and every time we have a party, we get Costco sized boxes of diapers. It makes me so happy to know that Carter's birthday will have a positive impact on other kids in our area.

Once I get my act together, I will pile them all up and take a photo of him with them, like I did with Hunter.

I'm a bit behind on most things, but I did manage to finish his 52 weeks of photos. It's a labor of love, but I'm glad I did it.

And for those who are interested, here's where Carter is at these days-

Favorite food: Turkey meatballs and veggie straws
First Word: ma-ma, although I'm not sure that counts
Favorite toy: anything squishy and soft that he can chew on (foam football and letters). He also loves the play kitchen and play food
Teeth: 4 on top and 4 on bottom- actively getting more (ugh)
Mobility: He crawls around, but mostly he crawls up the stairs (while I have a silent heart attack). He pulls himself up and cruises around on the furniture and sometimes, he will stand on his own, until he realizes he has nothing to hold and drops to the floor.
Hair: Not much up there, but it's coming in pretty blonde, with some redness in certain lights
Sleep: He still sucks as sleeping through the night- still waking up at least once every night

So there you have it. Carter turned one and I am officially baby-less.

Time to convince Chris we need another! (Just joking dear....sort of).