Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Happy Birthday, Baby!

Happy birthday, baby!!
An Anderson tradition...
Awakened on your bday by the camera,
whether you like it or not.
Calder, just in case I don’t write it down anywhere else, know that we love you so, so, so much and are so proud of you. One year ago today almost feels like another lifetime, you’ve come so far. I wouldn’t trade a minute of it! Every day your dad and I tell the other one at least once how happy you make us.

And how much we like you. That's a real compliment. Loving you is a given, but liking you, well, that took talent on your part.

We kicked the day off with some professional photos. Our very first photo shoot with Calder took place a few weeks after he came home and wasn’t so hot. We rescheduled it multiple times since Calder was still in such a fragile state, and I had to be sure that even the photographer’s kids’ best friends were healthy (no, not really, but I did make sure we rescheduled until his little girls were all over their fevers.) It was a mini-shoot, and I felt rushed. It didn’t really work out because there was no flexibility to allow us to let him wake up a little bit more, take a nap, take a bottle, etc., and this unideal scenario came through in the final product. This time, we were scheduled for a 6pm shoot but with his new schedule we were worried he’d be grumpy, and with the little party we had planned, we were concerned we’d have too much going on at once. At the last minute, we rescheduled for first thing in the morning. Of course, when he woke up he all but refused his usual second-breakfast bottle, leaving him hungry, I’m sure, and he didn’t perk up from his morning stupor as quickly as he normally does. Go figure. He was … not grumpy, but placid. Not our usual smiley-pants. Once again, thwarted! But the photographer said she got all she needed within 30 or 45 minutes, assuring us he was smiling, so I’ll take her for her word. He’s cute, I’m sure we’ll be satisfied.
The family shindig tonight was truly delightful. I would go so far as to say it met and exceeded Pinterest standards, if you know what I mean. The theme, because every one-year-old’s party requires a theme nowadays, was inspired by one of the Gaelic meanings of Calder’s name, “rocky river.” My mom and sisters put together a grand party full of cutesy fish (including stuffed ones, sewn with love by my mother- and father-in-law), fishing-inspired snacks, a delicious dinner, a blue smash cake and an official birthday cake (made by Kristen’s sister-in-law) that had us all in awe when it arrived. I was scared to move the masterpiece.

Most significantly, though, having so much of our family there was so important and very special to us, from Kraemer’s parents to my immediate family, my grandma and some of my aunts/uncles/cousins who could make it, including family up from Louisville. We are so grateful they made time, not just tonight, but on various occasions throughout this year.

Happily, Calder’s birthday was a very joyous occasion for me. Leading up to this day, I’d had many other moms of preemies caution me about uninvited emotions that might creep up throughout the day as I reflected on what today one year ago involved: a lot of uncertainty, fear, exhaustion, grief, guilt. But there was love too, joy and lots of hope. Since that day, we have come to know so many wonderful people, from Calder’s nurses and doctors in the NICU to the physicians he continues to see today. There are other moms of preemies whose listening ears, encouraging words and advice from experience have been indispensable. Then there have been the family and friends who have been with us every step of the way, at the very least by reading this blog (and knowing that was a bigger support to us than you might realize) and definitely there when we needed them most. And so, with our baby home and healthy and with so much love for him from so many people, today was a very happy day indeed.

he wore a lot of outfits today.
so here we are in his birthday suit, of course.
calder, i might be a little over the top, but
be glad that i post the modest ones.


  1. I have been following your blog and Calder's amazing journey all year. He is adorable. Congratulations on his first birthday. It says wonderful seeing Aunt Verna finally meeting him. I know that is what she really wanted. Take care love Skip and Penny

    1. Thank you, Skip and Penny! We were so happy to have Calder and Gram together, too. Hopefully we'll be making another trip to Ohio sooner rather than later. Hello to your boys and their families, too! love, taryn

  2. What an adorable party! I love the decorations and that cake is AMAZING! The best part was definitely the video of Calder getting to chow down on his cake. His facial expressions are the best. :)

    1. Thanks, Veens! I know, isn't Amanda (Krist's SIL) talented? Pretty sweet cake. And Calder is hilarious. Very expressive little munchkin.