Birthday, Family Fun, Mathias

Mathias Turns One! (+ Our Gift Philosophy for Babies)

It’s definitely true what they say about the years just going faster the more kids you have. When Raven turned one, I remember feeling in awe that we were already there, but at the same time, it felt like a looooong year (mostly just because I was still working full-time as a teacher, I think—and those school years ALWAYS felt long, ha ha).

Nothing felt long about the past year.

Well, maybe the fact that we had a really rough several months when the baby wouldn’t sleep thanks to his ear infections. But honestly, ever since he had the tubes put in his ears (best decision EVER, by the way) and has been sleeping through the night, the past 3+ months especially have passed by in a blur. In my head, I’m still a bit incredulous that I don’t still have a 9-month-old.

Yesterday was Mathias’s official birthday, and we didn’t do too much on the actual day–he had gotten a gift shipped to us from his grandparents in Hawaii that he opened that morning and I made a cake, but most of our celebrating happened before the fact.

Confession: Event and party planning is NOT a love of mine. Correction: THEMED and DECORATED event and party planning is not a love of mine (because I actually quite like entertaining in general). So when it comes to planning elaborate, Pinterest-perfect events, I’ll leave that to the people who care.

As for me, I care that the food is good, that the company is good, and that’s it.

So to keep things low-key for his birthday party, especially since we were hosting out of town at my mom and stepdad’s, we just went with cake and ice cream rather than a whole meal, and my mom even offered to make homemade peach ice cream, which meant I was in charge of making cupcakes.

I can do cupcakes.

Naturally, I went to my favorite food blog (Mel’s Kitchen Cafe) and made her perfected chocolate cupcake recipe with her quick buttercream vanilla frosting. (Mom, don’t look at the butter content of those recipes.)

My kids are the most anticlimactic cake smashers of all time. Raven cried when she tried her first bite and didn’t want anything else to do with it, and Mathias just crumbled it into smaller and smaller bits and sampled one tiny fingerful. Ah, well.

And guess what?

The food was good. The company was good. And everyone had a great time, even though there was nary a themed party streamer in sight (and the only balloons present were courtesy of my stepdad).

Side Note: I don’t think I’ll ever feel brave enough to host a friend party for my kids. Raven is getting to the age when she’s starting to get a lot of birthday invitations, and the thought of inviting 10-15 kids over for a party is like my worst nightmare. I don’t do chaos, and I get highly anxious whenever I watch other people’s kids, so really, a friend birthday party will probably only happen about once every five years for our poor kids, ha ha.

Our birthday present philosophy when our kids aren’t old enough to realize what’s going on is to go pretty cheap. All told, we spent all of $15 of our own money on presents this year. Not too shabby, eh? Thanks to our generous families, however, he still got pretty spoiled!

(Another note: We’ve started telling our families, especially our siblings, that we’re totally fine with hand-me-downs as gifts. It takes the financial burden/stress off, it’s great for the environment, and the kids are still happy either way. Frugality for the win!)

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Favorite Birthday Toys

I’m all for getting toys for a one-year-old that they can grow into a bit, which means that he has fun with them NOW but that he’ll also have fun with them a year from now. (And, bonus—almost all of these have been a lot of fun for my 4-year-old, too.)

  1. Tonka Classic Steel Mighty Dump Truck
    • This gigantic dump truck (it’s as big as the baby is!) was the only thing I really knew I wanted to get for Mathias since I remembered my younger brother getting one way back when, and it’s still in perfect condition over two decades later! (These have a lifetime guarantee on them and are made of heavy-duty metal.) My dad and stepmom send us money for our kids’ birthdays, so this was the gift we got from them, and at $24.96 is a total steal.
  2. Little Tikes Spiralin’ Seas Waterpark Play Table
    • This is a gift from my mom and stepdad, and my mom was worried about it being a little too old for a one-year-old, but it’s been great! The height is just right that he can stand and lean against it, and he is loving watching his big sister play with all the different water features and splashing his hands in it and throwing the balls. I think it’s mostly thanks to this table that he’ll be walking soon, ha ha–it’s kept him standing for longer than ever before, and now he’s standing up on EVERYTHING. (This is the one pictured above, btw.)
  3. Kid Connection 8-Pc. Work Bench Play Set
    • He’s still a bit young to know how to use the tools on the bench (they fit on the pretend screws/nails on the bench and make noises or move when you use them correctly), but he enjoys pulling down the lever to see the lights and opening the drawer and using the hammer on other things. Like I said, I like gifts they can grow into, and this one’s a steal at just $9.97.
  4. Fisher Price Rock-a-Stack Classic with Five Rings
    • I try and let Raven pick out her own gifts for people’s birthdays now, and it always proves to be an interesting teaching experience, as she still very much just wants to get stuff that SHE would want (i.e., she was convinced Mathias would just LOVE a set of little purple and pink ponies). This is definitely the toy that skews closest to the age he’s at, and he’s happily enjoyed pulling the rings off as fast as he can, though we’re still working on the whole “putting them back” concept.
  5. V-Tech Pull and Sing Puppy
    • You can definitely tell this is a grandparent gift, as they give the noisiest presents πŸ™‚ There is no doubt, though, that the kids LOVE this one (both of our kids). This is one I might need to hide the batteries to after awhile, but for now, I’ll let them enjoy the music and talking and barking, ha ha.

These aren’t all the gifts he got from family, but these were the easiest ones to track down online πŸ™‚

Mathias at One

I was super good at doing monthly updates for Raven’s first year, but Mathias has gotten, um, one so far. However, I have been doing some short updates on Instagram for most months, so at least there’s that.

Difference between the first and second kids, eh?

I’ll have to come back in and edit once we have his one-year check-up tomorrow, but here are some quick stats:

  • Height: 28″ (estimate)
  • Weight: about 18 lbs. (estimate)
  • Clothing Size: 6-9 months (he’s such a little peanut!)
  • Diaper Size: 3

He’s been hitting lots of milestones lately, but I’ll include all that he’s currently doing, even though some of these he’s been doing for quite awhile:

  • Sleeps through the night from about 7:30 p.m. to 6:30 – 7:00 a.m.
    • Side note: he still takes two decent naps, as well–one in the morning from about 9:30 – 11:00 and one in the afternoon from about 2:00 – 4:00 or 4:30.
  • Crawls everywhere, and FAST
  • Can pull himself up to standing and has started to move along furniture, as well
  • Can go from standing to sitting by himself
  • Has one tooth
  • Has *just* started putting things into his mouth, though he doesn’t seem to show any interest in feeding himself still yet
  • Waves at everyone
  • Talks constantly, though we still have no idea what he’s saying

Because he had those constant ear infections for so many months, we thought he was kind of a hard baby, but ever since he’s gotten his tubes in, we’ve discovered just the opposite—he is the HAPPIEST kid. He only cries if he’s hungry, super tired, or if his sister takes something away from him, and he LOVES to try and make us laugh. His latest tricks including spinning in circles on his belly as fast as he can on a hard surface like tile and then laughing insanely, and he also has started rolling into one of us when we’re lying down on the floor, rolling to the other side of the room, and then rolling back as fast as he can (all while giggling his head off).

He also does this “swivel” thing with his binky that I love where he’ll just take his hand, rotate it once all the way around, and then go back to whatever he’s doing. He’s a total flirt and loves to smile at strangers and wave, then bashfully bury his head in your shoulder, and then look back at them and smile.

All in all, we’re just so happy he’s ours and a part of our family. He brings us so much joy, and we feel so lucky to be his parents.

Happy birthday, sweet Thias boy!