A Very Happy 1st Birthday

Happy Birthday Z

When we first left the hospital with our little bean, I believe I wasn’t the only one feeling this weird fear at the hospital about leaving and taking full responsibility to keep a living, breathing tiny human being happy, healthy and safe. It’s a big thing, that kind of responsibility. We can officially rejoice that we’ve all three survived an entire first year of parenting in only a few hours, but today we celebrated a wee bit early with a small party of friends and family.


Opening presents

Besides our local group of loved ones, we were lucky to have family from other parts of the province able to join us in amazing at the fact that it actually has been a whole year of life for our wonderful, beautiful, relaxed and clever little babe. It was so great to see Z playing with and getting to know the fantastic people that surround our lives. I honestly believe there is nothing more important than people in life. One or a thousand, if the people you choose to accept into your life support and inspire you, it will be a good ride.

with Great Grandpa


When it came to setting out things to nibble on, I wanted to offer things that all of the babies would be able to eat. We all have different diets that work for our families, so I tried to choose some “safe” options.


cut up grapes

Grapes are one of Z’s favourite things to eat, cut into quarters.


Happy Puffs

Happy Puffs – Another top choice for Z. They definitely saved the day a few times when we were driving and could not pull over and get out to soothe a crying baby. These decently healthy, sugar-free organic rice puffs were never turned away by the Hamster, and thus held a well-deserved spot at our snack table.

1 Candle

I wanted to give Zaiya the whole experience of having everyone sing “Happy Birthday” to her with a little cake and candle, but I also didn’t want to break our commitment to not feeding her sugar so I tried two different sugar-free recipes for cupcakes. Both recipes were gluten-free as well, as many of the people in our lives are intolerant or straight-up celiac.

Banana applesauce muffins

The banana and applesauce cupcakes were made from a recipe I found on a baby-food blog. I substituted Bob’s Red Mill All-Purpose Baking Flour for the whole wheat flour, left out the wheat germ as I didn’t have any, and used 2% cow’s milk instead of soy. They could have used more flavour for adults, but the babies seemed to enjoy them.

gluten-free chocoloate mint cupcakes

The chocolate-mint cupcakes were flat out terrible. I have such regard for the sweetheart of a little boy that received one early as he was going soon, and when I said goodbye and asked “How was the cupcake?”, he graciously replied that “It was good”, although I can’t imagine he actually ate the whole thing. Horribly dry, I think I should have added more than a dollop of applesauce to replace the ripe bananas the recipe called for. Next time (if I ever decide to bake gluten-free from scratch again), I think I’ll try a different gluten-free flour, too. Apparently there are some really good ones out there for baking with, and there are a lot that just make for dry, crumbly treats. Or just stick to the gluten-free baking mixes, as the ones I’ve tried have always turned out amazingly. I won’t even link the recipe I tried, as I don’t want to give it an unfortunate review due to my errors.

NuStevia liquid Vanilla

Something that did turn out well was the whip cream I made to top the cupcakes. Instead of sweetening with sugar, I used NuNaturals Pure Liquid Vanilla NuStevia. I received a fabulous package of NuNaturals Stevia products to try, and have been very pleased with the quality and taste of the samples. I simply added 12 drops of the liquid vanilla-flavoured NuStevia to the whipping cream, and it was the perfect replacement for sugar that ended up lightly sweetening and flavouring the fluffy whipped cream.

What do you have planned for your little one’s first birthday? Will you be decorating and hosting a celebration with friends and family, or sharing an simple and intimate meal with your immediate clan? Does the idea of a sugar-laden cake all up in your babe’s face make your skin crawl, or is it something special you feel a birthday deserves? I’m curious about all the different ways of marking the first year. Please share your ideas and experiences in the comments below!

I can’t believe a year has already passed since we welcomed our mini member into our family. So much learning and growth has happened for all of us. Having a baby really makes you aware of the best and worst parts of yourself, and I’m really learning how to become more flexible about how the flow of my day occurs, and I’ve also realized that messes from meals and play really does bother me more than I thought. It’s interesting to see how I feel differently about the same kinds of activities in my own home as opposed to at preschool, and how the preschool-teacher part of me comes into play with the mama part of me when it comes to making decisions about how to respond to my own little munchkin.


Because I am a proud mama of the amazing little life I’m helping to shape, I’m going to share some of the ways I’ve seen my love develop over the last year. I’ve watched as she moved from a docile and stationary lump of love into a rolling, crawling, walking toddler who is now giving me lots of opportunities for movement every day, chasing her around. Her personality shines through more and more each day, showing her curiosity, excitement, flexibility, relaxed and calm way of being (most times), and the love and gentleness she shares with myself, her Daddy, and all of the people and animals – big and small – in our lives. She points out the million and one things in every environment she wants to learn more about, she’s starting to hum little “songs” to herself, and definitely understands a lot more of what we’re saying that we can know. She’s feeding herself and eating more and more variety every day, and is happy as pie to spend time with other caring adults when Mama needs some time sans bebe. She shares hugs, pets and kisses freely and frequently, and shows delight in so many things she experiences each day.

stroller baby

I feel so blessed to be the Mama of this beautiful, wonderful little soul, and I can’t wait to see what the next year holds for us all as a family.



2 thoughts on “A Very Happy 1st Birthday

  1. lise

    Happy Birthday Zaiya! Jay and I so wish we could have been there to celebrate! It sounds like it was a lot of fun. I can’t wait read more posts. Awesome idea Hannah! Great first post… We miss you all xoxox


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