Well, we officially have a one-year-old! Teddy’s first birthday was on Sunday and we had a fun-filled weekend celebrating our little guy. Friends keep asking if his first year flew by and the answer is yes and no. I feel like the first few months sailed by (to the point I was begging time to slow down) but then the silver lining of the pandemic has been so much more family time at home and the complete absence of the types of plans that might have made us feel busy/frazzled/wishing for more low-key time together. Will hasn’t commuted into the city since early March and probably won’t at least through the end of this year, and it’s been the most incredible blessing to have him working from home. He and Teddy have the most special bond and the fact that they’ve been able to foster that day in and day out instead of trying to carve out time on weekends is the greatest gift. I wonder how many other families are hoping that’s one of the lasting changes to come from this otherwise unsettling time?

In some ways, I feel like I became a mom yesterday but in others, I honestly hardly remember what I did most days before Teddy came into our lives. While I look back at his newborn photos with a twinge of longing for those tiny hands and endless snuggles, I’m also so proud of how far we’ve come together. While in the beginning I was scared it would all pass in the blink of an eye, I’m now confident that every month is truly better than the last. Seeing him become a little boy before our eyes — one who wants to walk and climb stairs, who has opinions on what he wants to eat, who lunges at his bookshelf even after we’ve already read five books — will never cease to amaze me. He has been a completely life-altering gift and I love him more than I ever thought possible.

I still have many things I want to improve on as a mom. This year has been a huge learning curve trying to figure out how to schedule time for work, how to start/stick with a new fitness routine, how to give myself grace when all prior planning goes out the window and all I have to show for the day is a blurry selfie with a wiggly toddler. I’m overwhelmed by how much I don’t know yet, but when I stop and think about it, I realize I know so much now that I didn’t last year. I’m not getting as much work done as I would like to, but I’m committed to making changes that will help me strike a balance that’s right for us. A judgy comment can still knock me off course, but I’m finally growing more confident in my own decision-making. My body isn’t the same as it was pre-baby, but it brought me the greatest gift of my life and fed him for twelve months and I’m really, really proud of that.

I wish I could go back and give my new mom self (the one who wept writing this post in particular) a huge hug and tell her everything would be not just okay, but deeply and truly wonderful. I derive comfort thinking I might have a new perspective during my next pregnancy or labor or postpartum recovery — when I was in the thick of each of those processes, I couldn’t appreciate that it wouldn’t last forever. I now have deep gratitude that my body provided for another life while healing itself and morphing into a new normal. I feel a kinship with other moms that I didn’t know existed. I have more appreciation for everything my own parents did and continue to do for me and my siblings. I have a new identity that encourages me to grow and expand and reminds me constantly of what’s truly important. And above all we have this baby boy who’s just a bright light in every day. I had no idea how motherhood would stretch and challenge and change me, and I’m humbled and grateful and excited that this is only the beginning.

Sending love to all moms, soon-to-be moms, and hoping-to-be moms. You are absolute rockstars.

And now, our past month with Teddy. 💙

We did a couple swim lessons in our pool at the end of August and to be honest, Teddy hated it. We were hoping to start him in swim lessons at our YMCA last spring and have no idea when we’d feel comfortable in that environment again so we thought it was worth a shot, but he’s probably happy to give it a rest this fall and winter. 😂 We’ll try again next year!

I had a few moms ask me to share Teddy’s favorite toys to save for birthday gift ideas! We gave him the Doona Trike for his birthday and He’s just as content being pushed around our dining room as he is outside and loves wiggling his feet out of the pedals and putting his cup (or pacifier) in the cup holder. It’s a bit of an investment but I love that it will grow with him in the months and years to come! A few other favorites are this play table (he has logged hours on this thing), this walker (though he’s not quite steady enough to actually walk with it just yet), this singing elephant, these stacking cupsthis alphabet puzzle, and all the books (some of our favorites listed here and here).

Teddy loves pasta as much as his parents do! He has a seriously impressive appetite. His preferences change seemingly daily (one night he’ll eat fistfuls of quinoa and the next he acts repulsed by it 😂) but as a picky eater myself it makes me happy to see him so willing to try new things. Most nights he eats what we’re having for dinner and he’s generally happy as long as he can see that he’s having what we’re having!

Love a baby in a gratuitous ribbon belt and Brimmer Boys makes the cutest ones ever.

I talked more about our morning walk habit on Instagram stories recently and it was really cool to hear what some of your morning routines are with and without little ones! We typically start by finding a park or playground in a nearby town and then taking our stroller to explore that neighborhood for a couple miles, but another family does the same thing with bakeries/coffee shops and another made it a quarantine goal to walk every public street in their town — which we are 100% going to attempt this fall and winter!

Teddy’s wearing these gingham pajamas here and this navy version in the snap above and oh my goodness, it does not get cuter. They are so tiny but so grown-up and they just give me all the heart eyes!

Seeing my husband read to our baby (this book no less!) will never get old to me.

Adventures at the apple orchard with his cousin Hayes! These boots are one of my absolute favorite purchases for Teddy’s wardrobe. It’s crazy to see him in shoes after so many months of bare feet and socks, but I just about collapsed when I took these out of the box. So so cute.

We had a very low-key birthday celebration at home with family and it was just right. Teddy slept for twelve hours straight afterwards so you know he partied hard!

Baby’s first Funfetti! The first of many not-so-pretty-but-made-with-love birthday cakes in the years to come. 💙

P.S. More baby posts you might like:

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  1. Happy belated birthday to Teddy! He is so precious. Thank you so much for sharing and for all of the motherhood tips!

  2. Congrats on a year of motherhood! No small feat, especially with all of the uncertainty in the world right now. I have a baby a few months younger than Teddy and so much of what you’ve shared resonates. It sounds like you are writing about nursing Teddy in the past tense now. Did you wrap up with breastfeeding? How did the weaning process go/ any tips? As we approach a year with our little one, it’s something on my mind a lot that causes mixed emotions….

    1. Sorry for the confusion! I’m still breastfeeding once or twice a day, first thing in the morning and then when/if he’s willing to sit still in the afternoon or evening. I was nursing four times a day up until a few weeks ago, but he started losing interest pretty quickly (every time except the morning feed) and I never want it to feel like something I’m forcing, especially when he’s doing so well eating solids. It’s been a very gradual process (no physical pain or emotional upheavals so far, both of which I was very much dreading) and I’m just trying to follow his lead!

  3. Happy birthday Teddy! I know exactly what you mean about increased gratitude for your own parents – definitely one of the blessings of parenthood. Babies are lovely but it only gets better. We’re about to have a four year old in the house (how?!) and it is so amazing watching personalities, interests, and senses of humor grow!