Donovan’s First Birthday

Donovan’s birthday arrived quickly and before I was ready.  Of course I had the decorations up and the food ready, but I was not ready for the first year to end. It was a long year and a tough one.  But it was also the year that I became a mom, a role which, I was unsure of at first, but quickly grew to love fiercely.  I was filled with sentimental memories of the week leading up to Donovan’s birth.  The frustration, the lacking patience, the excitement.  Donovan’s birth was one of the most special moments of my life. As I reflected on Donovan’s birthday, I realized that a child’s birthday is all about celebrating their life, while also celebrating the the joy of being their parent and welcoming them into this world.

Donovan woke up happy and excited to enjoy his first birthday. We ate breakfast and headed to the Lowry Park Zoo.

IMG_7646

IMG_7475

The day was overcast, which kept the weather nice and cool for our morning outside.  Aunt Allison had flown in from Minneapolis as a surprise to Doug. I am still completely proud of myself for keeping the secret.  Her arrival was perfect and Doug was unsuspecting and caught off-guard! Donovan enjoyed spending so much quality time with his Auntie Al!

IMG_7476

Doug and I decided that Donovan’s birthday gift would be annual passes to the zoo.  Growing up, my family used to go to the zoo once a month.  I have such fond memories of seeing the animals and playing in the water fountains before heading home exhausted.

IMG_7519

Auntie L was also able to join in the fun!

IMG_7484

We had a blast at the zoo.  We saw many animals.  And Donovan enjoyed his first doughnut!

IMG_7481

IMG_7608

IMG_7617

Donovan went on his first carosel ride.  He only enjoyed the first half and then wanted to get off.

IMG_7530

IMG_7585

We went to PDQ for lunch and then to Sports Authority to get a few last minute birthday party items.

IMG_7618

IMG_7628

We avoided most of the rain that day, which made for the the perfect nap time!

IMG_7631

We took his measurements for the family measuring stick.

IMG_7643

And we took his last month photos, which were really difficult since he has become super fast!  We were lucky to get the sticker and the bunny in the same picture.

IMG_7639

IMG_7638

IMG_7636

IMG_7635

IMG_7634

IMG_7633

IMG_7632

IMG_7637

Donovan’s Birthday Party was on March 28th and it was a baseball theme.  We asked everyone to wear their favorite baseball team apparel or colors.  And naturally, Donovan was the Rookie of the Year.

IMG_3287

IMG_3300

We had hamburgers, hot dogs, Cracker Jacks, peanuts, and nachos.  The nachos were served in those plastic dishes that are used at real baseball games (Thank you, Sam’s Club). And they were a special request from Doug.  They were quite a hit and everyone loved them!

IMG_3311

IMG_3312

IMG_3309

IMG_3314

IMG_3315

IMG_3323

I think everyone would agree that the highlight of the party was the cake smash.  We posted the video on facebook (https://vimeo.com/134027550) and people loved it!  Donovan was not shy when it came to enjoying his cake.  He eventually put his entire face in it.  He was polite and offered to share some with me, as I was attempting to keep the cake on his tray.  And, Donovan decided to have his cake and eat it too, by searing it all over his hair.

IMG_3335

IMG_3338

IMG_3373

IMG_3369

IMG_3384

The party was a blast!  We were so thankful for all of our amazing family and friends who came to celebrate our special boy. Donovan was a party animal and almost missed his nap!

IMG_3330

IMG_3327

IMG_7656

IMG_7684

Donovan’s birthday and party were both special days for our little family.  Even though, it wasn’t easy to see Donovan’s first year come to a close, I was comforted by the fact that the best would be yet to come.

IMG_3295

IMG_3304

With Love,

From Me to You

Donovan: Month Twelve

March is a big birthday month in the DeGroot household.  Doug turned 34 and we celebrated by watching some spring training baseball!  Doug finally got his grill and, of course, we enjoyed our favorite strawberry shortcake.

IMG_7312

IMG_7335

IMG_7331

IMG_7306

IMG_7339

IMG_7349

IMG_7351

Donovan's first Chocolate chip cookie.

Donovan’s first Chocolate chip cookie.

We celebrated St. Patrick’s day with an Irish dinner with the Mitchells, Sweeney’s and Schwartzes:

IMG_7373

IMG_7398

We cheered on Leah and Becky in the Sarasota Half-Marathon:

IMG_7384

IMG_7383

IMG_7386

And just like that, Donovan’s first year came to an end.  When I took his 11 month pictures I felt an impending sense that this ending had completely blindsided me.  How had time flown by so fast?  I knew that I had cherished every moment, but still, I found myself wondering where the time went.

The first year was a roller coaster of emotions. Watching Donovan grow was a gift unlike any other.  And as time passed I look forward to the new experiences to come.  But I also couldn’t help but long for those moments that had already passed.  Packing away outgrown clothes, reaching new milestones, and looking at old pictures served as reminders of how much had changed.

IMG_7409

Even though he is a bit too big for this seat, it still worked when I needed to take a shower.

There was something about the end of the first year that made me even more sentimental.  I was hyper-aware of the last time Donovan would take a bath as a baby, the last time I would tuck Donovan in as a baby, the last time I would read Donovan “Fox in Socks” as a baby.  It seems silly looking back now, but at the time it just felt like a momentous ending.

At least Donovan still likes to be worn 🙂

IMG_7455

As his birthday drew closer, we started getting lots of fun gifts in the mail:

A new chair from Grandma Kimmy!

A new chair from Grandma Kimmy!

A train from Grandma and Grandpa DeGroot.

A train from Grandma and Grandpa DeGroot.

And he started making a list for his thank-you notes!

And he started making a list for his thank-you notes!

And on March 26th, I put Donovan to sleep for the last time my little baby.

IMG_7467

With Love,

From Me to You