Monday, August 19, 2013

Hadden's First Birthday

My son turned one recently - talk about a crazy mix of emotions!  The night before his birthday I sat in bed remembering.  He was born late at night so by the time everyone had left our room, we were exhausted.  My husband fell right asleep. The lights were dimmed and one last nurse was silently finishing putting things in order.  I was so, so tired.  Really, the word 'exhausted' doesn't begin to describe how I felt.  But I say there holding this tiny, mewing creature.  I wanted nothing more than to go to sleep, but at the same time, I couldn't sleep.  The room was so quiet and it was just me and him.  I was always cherish the memory of those first moments.

{about an hour old at this point}

{taken the morning of his birthday after a riding in the stroller on his daddy's run}

It is incredible how a year changes thing.  I had no idea what a special little person I was holding at that time, but discovering his personality this year has been so much fun.  

When we talked about his birthday, we knew two things.  First, that we wanted to celebrate his amazing life with something special.  And secondly, that we didn't want to do a big party with gifts.  A couple years ago I happened upon this post by another blogger who celebrated her 29th birthday doing 29 acts of kindness to strangers.  I've never read this blog except for this one post (and it took me a bit of work to find it again today), but I remembered what a cool idea it was to skip gifts and instead celebrate a birthday with good deeds.  I've since discovered this website that encourages people to use their birthdays to bless others - awesome!

We decided to use this idea for Hadden's birthday, calling it One for One (one act of kindness for one year of life).  We made birthday announcements and sent them out to friends and family.  We said no to gifts and instead we asked them to send back the postcard (see below) and write about a random act of kindness they did in Hadden's honor.

This, we felt, was a way to celebrate his life and set a precedence for what is truly important in life.  I kept thinking of people getting a surprise blessing because of my son's life.  That's SO much better than toys!

I love that we got to involve so many people, both friends and family.  As the postcards started to be returned, it was fun to read what different people did in Hadden's honor.  Coffee bought for a co-worker, handwritten letters to cheer up friends, meals purchased or prepared for friends, money donated to help build a house in Mexico - it was touching to see how people chose to honor our son.

Since we had a little party for him, I hung up the postcards as decorations.  This was how many we had received on his actual birthday, but since then, the line has been completely filled!  And we still have a few on their way!  We're going to put all the postcards in a little book so that Hadden can read about it when he's older.

In case you're wondering about the party, we kept it very simple - a few friends came over for the evening and (at their request) I made homemade gyros.  

Instead of cake, we made a mini fruit pizzas with oversized sugar cookies, cream cheese/marshmallow fluff "icing", strawberries, blueberries and kiwi.

The babies played and the adults talked, so everyone was happy.  We made balloon streamers a few days before which added a festive touch.  For favors, I gave out balloons filled with helium and little "wedding" bubbles.

This year has been such an adventure with Hadden and I hope that our birthday celebration did justice to his special little life.  I hope that we'll find ways to incorporate "birthday acts of kindness" in the coming years as well.  

Now begins Year Two!


  1. Could you please share your gyro recipe? :)

  2. Mrs. Scott, here's a link to the recipe!

  3. Callie this is such a neat idea! Dylan and I have had many conversations about what we'll do for our future childrens' birthdays/Christmases. This post was very inspiring - thank you!

  4. Steph, I'm glad it was encouraging to you and I hope you'll be able to use the idea too! If you check out the blog I linked to (where I got the idea from) you can see that they take the idea even further! I'd really like to continue this as a tradition in our family for birthdays!


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