Avonlea's First Birthday

Monday, April 16

We had a great afternoon celebrating Avonlea's first birthday. I cannot believe this sweet girl has been in my life for a year, man, the time flew!! I look back on this year and thank God for gifting me such an incredible gift as this sweet daughter of mine. Truly, she is a joy. 

I wanted to celebrate Avonlea with all our family around her, commorating her life in a special way. But I also didn't want to do anything fancy...so I opted for a family party that was real casual. I threw most of the decor together the night before, and woke up early the next day to head to the farmers market to pick out the prettiest bouquet of wildflowers! They were gorgeous and became the focal point...their cherry colorful blooms lighting up each room with celebration! 

My inspiration for Avonlea's party decor came from my love of Rifle Paper Company florals!  I hung this garland above the food table, put out the Rifle Chatbooks I had made for Avonlea, and the crowing jewel was the ADORABLE dress my mom made for Avonlea using this Rifle Paper Co. fabric. She looked so adorable:) 

I also made my first gluten and dairy free cake! I was really nervous as I've never made a cake from scratch before. I had a picture in my mind of making a pretty layered cake with berries on top. I searched Pinterest for the perfect one, and found this recipe here. I totally picked the recipe based on the gorgeous pictures of it (which is probably not the best way to pick a recipe), and the night before had visions of a total Pinterest FAIL! Fortunately the cake was a total success!! So deliciously moist and flavorful....I loved it so much I nearly ate the whole thing myself haha! My mother-in-law also made a bigger funfetti cake for the masses to eat which was great! 

Avonlea thought opening presents was fun...I think she was more enthralled with the tissue paper than her gifts, but she seemed excited regardless! People were so generous, thanks fam!! She was NOT sure about blowing out the candles on her cake. The entire time we sang to her she was looking around super confused at what was going on! Why are all these people looking at me? haha! She wasn't too into the cake, she preferred the strawberries on top more (which I am SOOO fine with, hehe!). 

Kevin made a little slideshow video to music of her first year of life, and we gathered around the tv to watch that! So amazing to see how much she's grown! I made an Avonlea trivia game that people filled out and then everyone guessed the answers. Questions like "when was Avonlea's due date" and "what is her actual birthday" and "what was Avonlea's height and weight when she was born?"....my father in law won! Nice work Mitch!! 

All in all it was a beautiful day spent soaking in the sunshine with the people we love, eating yummy foods, and celebrating one very loved little girl. But I do have to laugh because I think Avonlea's favorite part of the party was watching the dogs play fetch in the backyard! Oh well!! Happy birthday little one!! 

Our sweet Avonlea turns one!

Wednesday, April 4

Tonight Kevin and I took Avonlea on a bike ride. As we were riding along and laughing at how cute Avonlea looked in her ginormous helmut, we both looked at each other and couldn't believe that just one year ago we were at the hospital while I was induced, and then 24 hours later gave birth to our precious Avonlea Grace. 

This year has been a beautiful testament to the miracle of life. Life, what a gift! Our little spring blossom arrived at 8:30pm on April 4th and for the past year has sown joy into all the nooks and crannies of our home and hearts. Just when I had thought that I had reached my full capacity to love, it was shattered by bringing this tiny miracle into our home. And all of a sudden that capacity to spill love ballooned, and only grew steadily, a soft but steady drumbeat of affection that increased by day. I never knew this kind of love. 

Every day for the past year, as I rocked Avonlea to sleep and nursed her, I thanked God for this gift. Who am I to receive something so precious? And yet, there she was with her big blue eyes and tiny fingers, attached to me in a way I can't describe. And every night, I still stand in awe of a God who gives such good and tender gifts. Thank you Jesus for Avonlea. 

She is a lover- she blows kisses, and waves to everyone (no joke, at Trader Joes one day I parked my cart near the flowers as I picked out a bouquet, and she literally waved to every.single.person. who entered the store…I couldn't stop laughing as she made people's day with her greeting!). She freely gives all her stuff bunnies and lambs kisses and hugs. She kisses daddy and I often with her open mouth kisses, ha! And she's a snuggler, boy do I love that! 

She has spunk!- She cracks me up with her feisty zest! She's not really at an age where I discipline her, but if I say "no" to her when she tries to touch a power outlet, she will look at me and start laughing and say "no! no! no!" ….which of course brings me into a fit of giggles! The other day she was laughing and then all of a sudden took both her little hands and put them on my cheeks and drew me in for a kiss and then started bouncing up and down! so cute! 

She is a child of God- I think about how much God loves her, how he made her and how he will use her in the future. I pray that God will use Kevin and I to love her well and show her glimpses of God's great love for her. 

I love you Avonlea Grace, happy first birthday!! love mama and daddy!