Xs birthday happened to land on easter this year which turned out to be fun for everyone. we got some miraculously nice weather and spent most of the time just dinking around doing whatever X wanted. which was perfect.
saturday we started by grocery shopping (a favorite X activity) and then packed up for a picnic in shubie park. we hadnt been there yet and wanted to check it out. there is a nice little beach among a wooded trail with a river and bridge nearby, so there was a lot for X to see in a small area. there were also a LOT of dogs, which are an obsession of hers.
we munched on lunch while she explored. it turned out to be hard to get her interested in eating because there were so many things to explore, which was a little stressful, but we managed to get some food in her. and when she found the beach and raced toward the water all thoughts of food were far, far away. she is clearly still a water girl. we tried to help her play in the water/sand without freezing her butt off, but we eventually had to move back into the woods and try to make her forget about the beach. and she was quickly distracted by the dirt, the leaves, the rocks, trees, sticks, etc.
we ended our trip to shubie at the playground. swings, rocks, and a teeter-totter. all very fun. and randomly, we bumped into a mom who i hadnt seen in like a year. we chatted and the kiddos put things in their mouths. good times. then it was nap time, so we packed up and headed home. i think the park was a big success.
(having fun on the swings with papa)
after the nap, we hung out around the house and enjoyed some down-time before getting ready for dinner at isabelle and djordjes (two of daves colleagues). they had invited us and one other couple with a child over for dinner. X was go-go-go trying to explore every different thing in their house, so it wasnt exactly a calm social event but we had a nice time. the other couples little girl was older and she tried reading books to X (which she normally would have loved), but X was just too interested in exploring. isabelle had gotten her a sophie giraffe because isabelle is french and had loved having a sophie herself when she grew up. X also received a string of colorful prayer flags from bhutan (isabelle and djordje had recently done field work there) to hang from our ceiling. win! we had a nice dinner but had to leave early because X needed to get ready for bed.
back at home, once X went to sleep dave and i got to work hanging up Xs new presents. we had two strands of prayer flags (i had actually also bought a strand myself from the local hippie shop) and a beautiful navy and gold paper star lantern. i had also picked out three mylar balloons for her: a "happy birthday" one with butterflies, and two silver stars. our gifts to her were a sack of wooden blocks with letters, numbers, and pictures printed on the sides and a blue kickball with green polka dots. we arranged the blocks and ball on her playmat before we went to sleep.
(Xs birthday message)
in the morning, she got to have a similar experience to the ceiling surprise of winter solstice. she was pointing and turning her head back and forth. the star got her so excited it seemed like she was trying to shout the word, but it came out "tar. tar. tar." once she calmed down from the excitement of the ceiling hangings, she picked up her ball and carried it around the house for a while, and then later came to rough up the blocks, throw them, stack them, bounce them, etc. so i think she accepted her new things pretty well. it was fun to watch her take it all in.
(a 2 minute video with what i will claim are 3 instances of her saying the word "star." this is what X looks like in the first minutes after waking up, she wobbles more with her walking and has lots of dreadlocks in her hair. this video may bore you, if so, you know you can always watch it to cure insomnia.)
once we had eaten breakfast, we decided we would check out the easter egg hunt going on over at the seaport market. the temperature was actually rather warm despite the grey misty morning it was turning out to be. we walked along the harbourfront to the market and let X run around. at the farmers market there were lots of little kids for her to watch and we also got to spend some peaceful moments on the rooftop terrace. and it was there that we got the impression that the sun could win out and burn the clouds away to reveal a truly gorgeous day...
(birthday girl in a dress from grandma and aunt megan. also sporting a silk wreath i had bought to kind of be her birthday crown; on the boardwalk with papa)
and it happened! after nap time X got the best gift halifax can ever give: a nice day. a slight breeze, full sun, perfect temperature. heck ya! i took her over to the park across the street to kick her ball and play while dave prepped dinner. once dinner was roasting in the oven, we piled in the car and went to point pleasant park.
(chillin with her ball after nap time)
the entire city, and then some, had the same idea. but that was fine! if ever there was a place to see and be seen, the waterfront of this park was it. it was kind of fun. we stopped at the beach first and plopped X in the sand. she normally likes to walk on the sand toward the water, but playing in it for the sake of playing in it...not her cup of tea. i think the sand texture freaked her out. so, we went back onto the gravel path with the rest of the crowd. she walked all over and eventually slowed down to the point that we offered her a ride in the stroller. we had had it in the trunk of the car all winter and thought "meh, maybe we'll bring it along and see if she will agree to a ride in it." and i think she was just tired enough to give it a try.
it was something different for us. X was safe and quiet in her chair and dave and i had a chance to hold hands, talk, have a nice, calm stroll. it felt very strange and very lovely. i look forward to more of that in the years to come. this lovely stroll lasted about 15 minutes before X decided she was done with that. so we let her run around again before we headed home.
back at home, dinner was ready to come out of the oven. dave had slow roasted two lamb shanks and made wax beans and potatoes. we normally arent lamb people, and with our encounters with lamb shanks at restaurants, we definitely arent usually lamb shank people, but we had taken a chance. and MAN was it a winner. the most tasty, moist, flavorful, fall-off-the-bone meat i have had in memory. even X was convinced to eat some! we had a nice dinner.
and then we pulled out her cake. during nap time we had made her a dairy-free blueberry coffee cake. it was loaded with a fruit she loved, was low in sugar, and didnt have any dairy in it to irritate her. it was a really good option for us. we sang to her, she was entranced by the candle, and was rather dainty in eating her piece of cake. then we cleaned up and let her finish the night just playing with her new goodies. it was such an awesome way to celebrate her first year. although a party with friends and family would have been one way to have fun, we made do with what we had and had a really nice time. i will always have good memories of it and i hope that next year we can have a similar success, perhaps with a party!