Friday, August 24, 2012

Happy First Birthday, Avery!

Whew, what a crazy last few weeks it has been.  So much catching up to do!!  Because of recent schedule issues, we haven't been able to complete our 12 month photo shoot. On a totally unrelated note, I may still be in denial about having a 12 month old.

However, we did have a pretty awesome party to celebrate Averycakes turning ONE, so I thought I'd share it for those of you that weren't able to be with us! 

Everyone asked me what the theme was going to be, and well, we decided to just go with "birthday" and "fun, bright colors", because with my luck, we'd pick something and then next year Avery would become totally obsessed with it, and I'd have to do the same party twice, and then Avery would look back and think I was a terrible lazy mother.  (Not that I tend to overanalyze things.) (And not that there is anything actually wrong with repeat birthday parties!)  (Also, Avery, please do not become obsessed with "birthday" and "fun, bright colors" this year just to spite me.) 

Ehrm... moving on.

Sam's parents were gracious enough to let us have the party at their house.  You know, since if we have more than 4 people over at a time someone has to sit in the baby jail play pen, so thanks Yaya & Papa Tom!

We kept the decorations and food simple:
Sam was super impressed with my tissue balls.  Which made me feel like the most awesome Pinterest Mom ever.

It was pretty cool to see all of these together and in order!

Also, the cake was a-mazing, both in look and taste (Oreo filling, what??).  Thanks, Mom, for locating the baker, picking the design and (most impressive of all) somehow transporting all 40lbs of it in one piece!! 

This also shows the part of Avery's party that I was most excited about... the Time Capsule! 

The instructions asked people to write down their favorite thing about Avery now and what they thought she would be up to in 20 years.  The smaller cards had prompts for people to note popular items today like news events, sports stars, technology, etc.  Our plan is to present Avery with the cards on her 21st birthday so she can learn a little about her world and herself at one year old and see how things have changed, or whether any of your predictions came true!  (And there are some good ones... you guys were really thoughtful!) 

Also, I thought I'd mention, the capsule is still not "sealed", so if you'd like to send something in, just give me a shout!

My mom picked up a bib / bloomer set for Avery to wear, so we kept the rest of her outfit simple, because you know, there would be cake!

Avery loved the balloons... Uncle Steve said his prediction for her future was that she would be terrified of balloons after she popped one with her teeth on her first birthday...  luckily this did not come true, but I was a total nervous nancy about it the entire time.


 But even balloons could not keep Avery from getting impatient for her guests to arrive.

I'm not going to post too many pictures here, because maybe people are weird about having their photos all up on the internet?   We had a great group, though! Anyway, once everyone had mingled and snacked it was time for cake!  Which Avery was not so sure about... although she did really enjoy poking her finger into every.single.polkadot.  That, and there was clapping, which is kind of her favorite.

Even though she didn't love the cake (proving once again that she is much much much more her father's child than mine) she still managed to get decently messy and required a quick hose-down.

After cake things wound down pretty quickly and most of our guests headed home while we did a few presents with the fam.  Avery decided that what she really wanted for her birthday was to help out her friends at Project Transformation, so she asked her guests to bring books if they wanted to get her something for her birthday.  Her awesome friends and family brought over 30 books that the kids in PT will most certainly love!  

Thanks again to everyone that came out and helped celebrate Avery's first birthday or who couldn't be there but sent well wishes.  It was another one of those days where we were just overwhelmed by how truly amazing our support group is.  Quite simply we would not have made it through our first year of parenthood without you, and while obviously we love Avery with our whole hearts it is always a humbling and touching thing to see and realize how much you all have come to love her this year, too.  And for that we cannot thank you enough.  Happy Birthday, Avery!  We look forward to celebrating many many more!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

My Traditional Family

I know, I know, another blog post by some nobody about the Chick-Fil-A debacle.

But, I feel compelled, because this is my little corner of the interwebs, and this is an issue that I feel passionately about.  And, no, I'm not talking about waffle fries and banana pudding milkshakes that now taste a little like oppression. 

I'm talking about why we, as Christians, have let the "issue" of homosexuality take such a stronghold, why it is the thing that will rally thousands into action for campaigns and boycotts and anti-boycotts and heated word battles all over the internet, while all around us the widows, the orphans, and those in prison go ignored and unloved.  I literally cannot wrap my mind around it.

I'm talking about why a large number of Christians are making this an "us" versus "them" situation, when shocker, there are loads of gay Christians out there.  That makes it an "us" versus "us" situation, and if we are to be about the business of unity and building community we cannot afford to turn on one another like that.  Our numbers are already dwindling, in case you've missed it.

I'm talking about all of this because I come from a "traditional" family.  And I am in the process of creating a "traditional" family.  But I think we need to firmly define what that word "traditional" means.  Jesus calls us to love our God and each other.  He calls us to love.  To me, that defines a "traditional" family.  To fill it up to the brim with love, and squeeze in some mercy, compassion, and forgiveness.  The family we're building here in our house doesn't always meet that definition of tradition, but it is something I hope we're striving for.  And while we do that, it means we cannot contain that love within the walls of our house.  Because Jesus calls us to love our God and each other.  Not the trite mushy love, but the dirty gritty sometimes I can't stand you but I'm not giving up on you kind of love.

And I think that truly loving others means not actively working to deny them the ability to build a home based on love, or the ability to face financial, medical, and every other nuanced personal decision this crazy short life brings our way together with the person that they most love and trust.  It means welcoming everyone to the table.  In our homes and in God's house. Without constantly constantly pointing out that you "love them, but hate their lifestyle / sexual act / choice".  Because honestly, if every time my name came up in a Christian circle it was prefaced by, "Oh, Alison, love her, but hate that she curses / lies / lusts / (the list could really keep going, it's embarrassing)" I'm not sure I would have been able to stick it out this long.

I'm going to be clear, here, and state that I do not think that being gay is a sin.  Don't think the act is a sin either.  I say this with complete peace in my heart, with a stance that I feel is based in scripture.  And yet, sometimes I feel crazy for thinking this way.  Because apparently I am really in the minority.  And that makes me feel really lonely sometimes.  So, I'm talking about it here, in hopes that maybe I won't feel so lonely.  Or maybe someone else won't either.  Or that we can at least work together to build a "traditional" family EVEN if we disagree.  Seriously, come on over, the freezer's full!