Elma Family Handmade for Elma Kitty Milestones Motherhood {the ordinary moments}

On a first birthday


Celebrating your littlest daughter’s very first ever birthday isn’t exactly everyday or ordinary, but it is a moment from this week that I want to wrap up and tuck into the sturdiest part of my brain, to store away as a forever memory, engraved on the synapses, not a ‘what do I need to pick up at the supermarket this week’ fleeting scrawl, washed away in the next wave of lost socks and empty shampoo bottles.

Our Elma turned one.  I may have mentioned that a few times this week.  It is I suspect a bigger deal for me than it was for her.  Not that she didn’t enjoy herself, but I suspect that even having attained the grand old age of one, she doesn’t really have the cognitive skills to know precisely why everyone was making such a big fuss over her, she just sat back and revelled in it all (what am I talking about – she is of course the superest specialist snowflake that ever was and of course is clever enough to work that out!).  But for Mamas, and probably Daddies too, the end of the first year is an achievement worth celebrating.

With Kitty her first birthday marked the year in which we’d found our feet as parents, learned to trust our instincts, and found, mostly by trial, error and a bit of gut feeling, how we wanted to raise our beautiful girl; and a year in which that tiny miss had grown and blossomed. Elma’s first year has been a massive learning curve for all of us once again, probably a tougher one than the first time, as we learned how to balance and meet the very different needs of our two daughters, Kitty learned how to be a big sister, and Elma learned to do all the wonderful things that babies learn (and how to look pleadingly at her sister for a taste of chocolate button).

Last January I wrote about trying to find my way with Elma and Kitty on our first day with just the three of us, and I said at the time that I knew there would be a moment where I’d look back and wonder what was so hard.  It’s not that it wasn’t hard at the time, it’s just that imperceptibly, somewhere during the year it all started to fall into place, parenting two became our everyday ordinary.  It didn’t stop being hard exactly, and I still have my moments where I know I’m not giving them the best of me, but as my confidence and trust in my parenting has grown we moved from surviving to thriving, both when it’s just the intrepid duo and me, and as a family of four.  And that is definitely worth celebrating.

For the day itself, we kept things quiet and low key. Well, quiet for us.  H and I had worked a little birthday magic in the lounge overnight, putting up the birthday banner and a new banner with Elma’s name on it, and as I did a little last minute sewing (more on which later), H did a fabulous job wrapping a whole host of interesting shapes and sizes that had arrived through the post in the last couple of days. Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade life blog

With the birthday girl serenaded several times before she got downstairs she’d started to realise that something was different about today, and she was definitely intrigued by the pile of parcels waiting in front of the play kitchen. And with Kitty more than happy to show her how to take off the wrapping paper, Elma soon started to get the hang of it, albeit far too slowly for Kitty’s liking.  The speed with which one year olds unwrap brings back all to clearly the reason why we were still unwrapping Christmas presents in the early evening of Christmas 2011!

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade life blog

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade life blog

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade life blog


H and I gave her a pram, complete with that last minute sewing – a little quilted pram mattress to tuck in the bottom, and Kitty added a gorgeous soft squishy little dolly (now named Pippin) that is just the perfect size for little hands to tow around.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade life blog

And for the next budding artist in the family we also added a set of block wax crayons, perfect for masterpieces, and perfect for taking out and putting back in the tin.  What is it they say about the box being more fun than the toy?

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade life blog

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade life blog

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade life blog

And of course, there was a birthday dress.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade life blog

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade life blog

Elma opened cards and parcels from family and friends, and by the wonders of the internet we got to see her aunt and cousin in London, and even more impressively, her grandparents who were in a Floridian Target at the time.  We spent our day curled up on the floor of the lounge playing with wonderful new toys, making noise, making a big mess, and just enjoying being in each other’s company.

As there’s only so much cake that any one family can eat inside two days, I didn’t make a full birthday cake for her birthday, but saved it for her party instead, so on her birthday we made lemon sponge cupcakes, smeared a little icing on the top, added a ring of fresh plump raspberries, and then stuck a candle in each of them.

The look on Elma’s face when I came through the doorway into the darkened lounge holding the tray with four lit cupcakes was utter joy; she loved the twinkle of the candles, and their soft glow lit up a face so content and happy it was all I could do not to scoop her up and cover her in kisses  just because. With H and Kitty helping she blew out her candles, and tucked in with gusto.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade life blog

It wasn’t a day with big fanfare and shebang, but it was a day of celebration, of wall to wall smiles, a day where excitement and joy shimmered in the air, and a day of cake.  Perfect.

mummy daddy me

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  • Jess @ Along Came Cherry 15/12/2013 at 6:27 pm

    Happy Birthday Elma! I find the 1st birthday such an emotional one, all I did on Cherry’s was run through everything that was happening the year before. It’s going to be even more emotional this time as it will mark the end of J being a baby and we might not be having any more *sob* x

    • Carie 16/12/2013 at 12:00 am

      I know I try to be upbeat on first birthdays but there is something a little bittersweet about it – it’s just too soon to be contemplating the end of babyhood!

  • Katie 15/12/2013 at 8:40 pm

    Ahh sounds like you had a perfect day. 1 is such a huge milestone and special day 🙂 we will be there is 2 months, crikey!! Happy brithday again to your gorgeous little lady x

    • Carie 16/12/2013 at 12:01 am

      Thank you – it was a lovely lovely day

  • Katie @mummydaddyme 15/12/2013 at 10:08 pm

    It sounds like Elma had a wonderful first birthday and was thoroughly spoilt, both with love and presses. Love her little pram and her dress too. I am glad you all had a wonderful day. x

    • Carie 16/12/2013 at 12:01 am

      Thank you – she’s just so sweet with her pram, and so keen to tuck up her dollies and push them around!

  • Mandycharlie 15/12/2013 at 10:31 pm

    Loved it all, she looks a picture blowing out her candles. Glad you finished the dress!

    • Carie 16/12/2013 at 12:02 am

      Well the dress was finished a few weeks ago – we shall say nothing of the cardigan that is to go with it!!

  • Anna-Marie 16/12/2013 at 10:21 am

    Happy Birthday Elma! Such lovely photos 🙂 I love the pram!

    • Carie 17/12/2013 at 11:26 pm

      thank you – she just adores it, and is keeping all sorts of bits and bobs in it at the moment!

  • Sara (@mumturnedmom) 17/12/2013 at 12:40 am

    Happy birthday Elma! It looks like you had a perfect family day, wonderful photos and memories to cherish xx #TheOrdinaryMoments

    • Carie 17/12/2013 at 11:27 pm

      Thank you – I think it is one of those days that I’m going to remember and cherish.

  • sarah 17/12/2013 at 9:42 pm

    ah happy birthday to your wee girl. Cute jammies!

    • Carie 17/12/2013 at 11:32 pm

      Thank you 🙂 – it looks like she spent all day in jammies from the pictures but I promise she got dressed in the middle!!

  • mascara & mud 18/12/2013 at 10:19 am

    aaahh bless her little face! x

    • Carie 18/12/2013 at 7:08 pm

      Thank you – she is a little sweetie!