On Our First Birthday 

Sweet daughter, 

Today something truly momentous happened. You turned one. So did I, I suppose. One year of being your mommy has been my greatest adventure. Over the last year we’ve shared 365 days of sunrises and sunsets. We’ve shared laughter and cries. We’ve grown together and learned a lot. 

On the day you were born, nothing else mattered in the whole world except for you. For perhaps only a fraction of a second, you held the distinction of being the youngest person on Earth. And while a new miracle quickly took over that title, I was mesmerized. 

Some women have really hard pregnancies and some just don’t like being pregnant. While it certainly wasn’t the most relaxing nine months of my life, they were the most magical I had ever experienced. You were my little buddy, with me wherever I went. When the cold winter months hit, I’d wrap us up under a warm blanket and rub my belly, hoping against hope that you felt my love. I would talk to you constantly about everything I was seeing, hearing, and doing. You were my everything. But, then you were born. And I had to share you. 



Now, don’t get me wrong, I was so excited to share you with the world. I couldn’t wait for you to meet your amazing Daddy. I knew Grandma and Grandpa would be bursting at the seems to become grandparents. I couldn’t wait to lay you in your nursery, the same one that your great-grandmother raised your Poppy in. I wanted to be the best mommy, just like your Jammie was for me. Plus, I kinda sorta made you- and you were perfect- so I wanted to show you off. 

But, nonetheless, I was a bit sad at the loss of our secret little bond we had. So as they laid you in my arms, all I could think to say was, “Hi baby.” The time at the hospital passed in a blur and we were home before we knew it. 



Over the past year, I’ve come to realize that the secret little bond we had was nothing. When you call out for me in the night to come feed you, although I am tired and sleepy, I smile. You call for me. What magic. When you take a tumble, you reach out for me. When you decide you don’t want your diaper changed, or to be in your car seat, or to do whatever it is that we’re doing- you are soothed by my singing, my hugs, my love. 



You can be busily playing and smiling and the whole world thinks you’re happy, but I can tell that you’re secretly tired, or upset, or mad. As soon as I bring you to a quiet place, you dissolve into tears because you know you’re in a safe enough place to do so. You know Daddy and I will take care of you. 



You have learned such amazing things over the last year! You can walk, talk, and dance. You laugh and play peekaboo. You can roll a ball. You have a knack for taking off any shoe or sock we put on you. 



But, as much as you’ve learned, I’ve learned more. I’ve learned that sometimes the most wonderful moments occur at a 3am nursing session when I’m so tired I can barely function. You reach up, touch my cheek, and I’m cured. I’ve learned to slow down and to truly smell the roses, crunch the leaves and watch a bird sit in a tree, because nature is stunning, even in it’s simplest form. I’ve learned that our secret little bond of pregnancy is gone, and has been replaced by a much larger, much better one. I’ve learned that literally nothing matters unless I know you’re safe, cared for, and healthy. 



So while today we will place a candle on the top of your cake, Mommy will be there to help you, because it’s my birth-day and I couldn’t be more excited. 



Love always (and in all ways),

Mommy 

The “V” word

In our house, we freely throw around the “v” word without any problems. Although Cupcake is talking (and definitely listening to everything we say), we feel like her use of the “v” word is totally acceptable.

So two weekends ago, we had my in-laws over to celebrate a birthday. When they walked in the house, they immediately remarked how great it smelled. I presented my cake it by my husband’s affectionate name for it- Pancake Cake. As we dug in, they oohed and ahhed over it. When it was time to wrap it up, they happily took home ALL the leftovers.

Little did they know I had really made “v” cake. That’s right, people, I served my family members a vegan cake. What “v” word did you think I was talking about?

When I told them it was vegan, they were definitely surprised. It seems like in our social-consciousness, vegan is a dirty word. It represents a lesser alternative. It’s gross. It’s out there. It definitely isn’t so delicious that you take home all of your leftover came. No, with a vegan cake, you politely smile and make up some reason why it’s really ok, you do not need the leftovers. You’re on a diet. It would go to waste at your house. Oh no, no, the baker should get to keep the leftovers. Right?

I hate to admit, I used to be afraid of vegan foods. When I was originally told I had to avoid all dairy for Cupcake’s intolerance, I was not pleased. An avid baker, I had no clue what I was going to do! I didn’t want to make gross food! So, I gave it all up. No faux cheese for me! No butter! No yogurt! No milk chocolate! It was rough.

But one day, I was at a restaurant that literally only had ONE option they could promise was dairy-free. It was called “Vegan Ravioli.” This presented many problems. 1. It had the dreaded “v” word. 2. Ravioli without cheese? 3. Ravioli without cheese? (I’m half-Italian, clearly ravioli sans cheese should count twice). I begrudgingly ordered it and awaited the disaster.

As they put the plate in front of me, I crinkled my nose and poked at it with my fork. I cautiously dug in. My husband watched as I carefully chewed my bite. And people, it got weird. It was the best ravioli I had ever ever ever tasted. Not the best vegan ravioli-the best any kind of ravioli. Shh, please don’t tell Grandma Rose! And so, my eyes were opened.

Over the past few months, I’ve experimented with many vegan recipes. I find when I present them to others, they have my former reaction. “And it’s vegan?” they say. I see the judgment happen before a single taste. So now, I let the food speak first. I just wish someone would have captured my sweet father-in-law’s face when I told him about Pancake Cake!

My sweet Cupcake is sick this week, and I hear her waking in her crib, so I will post the Pancake Cake recipe soon! In the meantime, any delicious recipes you have that are vegan? Please comment below!