Thursday, May 26, 2011

First 1st Birthday

Alice started her birthday with a drive up the state of California. We headed to the Bay Area for the weekend to celebrate with Jon's family as his brother received his Master's degree. Alice was great on the road, happy as a clam in her new big girl car seat from her Senge grandparents. She only asked to stop once for lunch so we made a pit-stop at In-N-Out. She got sweet potatoes and chicken though, she'll have to wait a while for her first Double Double...

We had a long day on Saturday, but Alice was a trooper. We squeaked into the graduation ceremony just a few minutes after it started, but got to see all the good stuff. At least, Jon and I did - Alice took an Ergo nap. Afterwards, we stopped by Haight Street to see my sister's apartment and give Alice a little diaper change/lunch/play time. My sister had wanted to take a stroll around the neighborhood, but it was windy and freezing and we'd gotten a nice look as we trolled the surrounding streets for parking. We ended up parking almost at the top of the park near her house, so we got to admire the views on our way up and down whilst buffeted by the arctic bay breeze.

After our little respite in the Haight, we headed back across the Bay Bridge to Berkeley for a celebratory family dinner. I was trying to pretend that there wasn't a possibly impending apocalypse, but I'm not lying when I tell you that I was relieved when the proclaimed hour came and went before I drove back onto that bridge. We all arrived to the restaurant before the guest of honor though and were a little taken aback when he texted that he was running late because there had been a small earthquake and the BART trains were delayed. I grew up in the Bay Area and I've experienced my fare share of quakes (1989, anyone?), but I'm still pretty glad I didn't feel any apocalyptic tremors that day. 

Seriously though, if you're in/around/near Berkeley, hit up Jupiter Beer for some great brews (Bison Honey Basil!), and amazing pizza named after your garden variety Roman gods and goddesses. And if you're like me, you'll make your over-tired little angel hang on for just a few more minutes so you can eat a three-scoop bowl of coffee, hazelnut and creme caramel gelato from Almare across the street.

Since Jon's family was all up in the Bay Area for the weekend, we decided to have a little birthday get-together at my parents' house. Our family and a few friends spoiled Alice with some really fun toys. She's been getting to learn and practice her gift-unwrapping skills for a few weeks now and she's getting pretty good. And though she does enjoy a good piece of paper, a bag or a cardboard box, she definitely enjoys the toys inside too!

I love her extra-excited, wrinkly nose smiles.
Plotting how to get her hand stuck in the triangle hole, and admiring her personalized quilt.
She's been loving her all her new sorting/nesting/stacking/rolling toys, and we're glad she has some new and engaging things to keep her busy! 

I was especially touched by the beautiful quilt from my mother (her very first quilting effort!), cross-stitched and personalized by hand just for Alice (inspired by this color palette); and the beautiful words my sister wrote. I asked Jon's mom, my mom, and my sister to be with us in the delivery room when Alice was born and my sister wrote about the experience as a gift to Alice (and myself). She is a talented writer with a gift for evocative prose and eliciting emotion. She even agreed to a dramatic reading of her perspective of the events. I treasure both the story and the experience of hearing her speak it aloud. I'm so glad that Alice got two such special gifts that will mean something to her long after she turns two, and then three, and then twenty-two and twenty-three and beyond.

So that's how she spent her FIRST 1st birthday. We're having another little party this weekend, mainly so I can give her the fancy birthday party experience I want her to have, complete with a hand-made birthday dress and her very own cake. She might not care now and she certainly won't remember but she'll love to see the photos and videos when she's all grown up. And so will I.


  1. Such kind words! Means a lot to me :) I'm so glad you liked my version of the tale and that was I able to help celebrate the first anniversary of her birth. Can't wait to see the photos from party #2 this weekend!

  2. Absolutely nothing can beat the genuinely and completely innocent happiness that little girl feels. It warms my heart.


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