With new milestones every few weeks, parents understand just how fast a child’s first year of life passes. It seemed like just yesterday I was able to hold Asena in one hand. I can still see her alien newborn appearance fresh in my memory: oversized head, limp body, grayish skin and teeny-weeny twitchy fingers; a little lifeform only capable of opening her mouth to cry and eat.

Now, this little girl is holding my hand to stand up, trying to take her first steps. Like the speed of light, a whole year has come and gone. Asena Marie is one whole year old. Every day with our big-cheeked girls gets more and more fun.

But topping her first birthday will be a real challenge.

After a week of me saying, “Well, if the groundhog doesn’t see his shadow and the Chiefs win the Super Bowl, Asena will have a PERFECT first birthday,” it freaking happened! I like to think this is an example of speaking things into existence. Punxsutawney Phil predicted an early spring, the Chiefs made a colossal comeback against the 49ers and took home the Lombardi Trophy from Super Bowl LIV and Asena rang in her big day with a homemade smash cake thanks to her Aunts Tate and Jenny to enjoy with all four of her front teeth. Talk about an EPIC first birthday!

To save money this year, we sent invites out on Facebag instead of printing physical cards. Of course, I don’t have a Facebag anymore so I left this up to Spence. I never checked in on whether it actually happened but people showed up so I trust it did. Asena also sported the dress Reila wore at her first birthday party. Hurray for hand-me-downs!

Planning for a winter birthday party was tougher than my previous experience with Reila’s summer shenanigans. No one wants to travel in the cold and, for me, safety is always top of mind. We usually fire up the grill for burgers and hot dogs, let the dogs run around the backyard and open up our porch for overflow. But with the potential for snow in the forecast, we had to work with our living. Thank God we live in Missouri!

We chose to host the party on February 1st, figuring everyone had their own individual Super Bowl plans (ourselves included) and were BLESSED with sunny, 60º weather. What a relief! Aside from Spennie’s gram completely forgetting how to get to our house and us having to send a grand-aunt to rescue her at the grocery store where she ended up, things went off without a hitch and everyone had a blast.

Now, while groundhogs would have been an adorable, obvious theme for our little moonack, we put them on hold because Asena is OBSESSED with ducks. Besides “dada,” “duck” is her favorite word to say and she also makes hilarious quacking noises. Aunt Tate and Jenny came through with a bubbly rubber ducky smash cake for the birthday girl with matching chocolate and vanilla cupcakes for everyone else. Although Asena Marie loves eating, she was so dainty when it came to eating her cake and only took a few bites. It’s probably because she loaded up on mom’s lasagna and all the fresh fruit sent to us from Nanny Rose and Grandpa G who couldn’t make it out this time around.

By the end of the party, Asena’s duck collection had grown to include 10+ more rubber duckies, a super soft plush from Pops and two more duckie books. She got some money to put away in her money bunny account at Mazuma Credit Union, new clothes and lots of reading material. All the excitement and gifts didn’t stop her from doing her ear-piercing pterodactyl screech, though. She quacks me up.

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