On November 3rd, 2011, Abby turned one year old. Tom's family made a special trip down from New Jersey in the middle of the week, just to be present on her big day. My family joined the rest of us for dinner.
I debated about what to do for a cake. I'd spent the first year of her life avoiding giving her refined sugar as much as possible, so I didn't want her to overload on it, but I wanted her to still be able to enjoy her "smash" cake. Ultimately, I decided to make one, using a recipe from What to Expect: The First Year. It used whole wheat flour and was sweetened with apple sauce, carrot, and raisins. The frosting was primarily cream cheese, with a bit of apple juice and vanilla. To decorate it without adding sugary icing, I trimmed it in bananas. It was no work of beauty, but I was fairly pleased with it. And it tasted pretty good, too.
In the end, Abby wasn't interested in smashing it, anyway. In fact, she really wasn't sure what to make of it when we brought it out.
She was more interested in all of us, as we began to sing to her, than the cake, or the fancy candle atop it.
Tom blew out the candle for her, and set the cake down. I was thankful for having thought of the bananas, since they were what she went for first.
She was pretty confused by the whole thing, though.
Once it was clear that Abby wasn't interested in getting messy, we removed the cake from her tray and cut a nicely-sized piece for her to pick at.
Though hesitant at first, she eventually dug right in.
Next came the opening of presents.
Abby couldn't really grasp the concept of unwrapping, but she had a good time inspecting the contents of each package once it had been opened for her.
And she seemed to have a natural instinct for checking out the price...
The next day, she was treated to some "flying lessons" from Uncle Joe before he had to return home.
As Abby grew, so did her capacity for mischief. I caught her, about a week after her birthday, emptying a tissue box one night.
Given that I had allowed the antics to go on for long enough to get out my camera and take a picture, we decided that we'd let Abby continue to have some fun with it all. That is, until she began to actually eat the tissues.
This was also around the time that Abby first began to show an interest in her own clothing, and dressing herself. Though she still has a ways to go towards mastering the skill, she's definitely improved since I took this picture.
And this was taken on November 11, the day we remember as being when she took her first independent steps. The transition from cruising to walking was full of starts and stops, so it was difficult to really pinpoint what "counted" and didn't, and therefore, just when it all began. However, that was the day that we captured her on video, taking seven steps towards her daddy before falling to her knee, so it will go down in history as the official one.
I think it still took at least a month beyond that point before Abby was really walking comfortably for any significant distance, but the time certainly passed quickly from that moment.
Though I had stopped taking "month" pictures of Abby after she turned 11 months, I couldn't resist putting her back in the chair once I had this outfit on her. It was a birthday gift from her Nana that I thought would be a nice ensemble for her first peer birthday party. She looked like a baby model sporting "Infant Business Casual," and even cooperated with a perfect little pose for me.
Then came the party, where she got her first balloon (a big blue one!)...
... and even got to ride a pony.
The last big event of the month was Thanksgiving, which we celebrated twice (can you tell that Tom has a big extended family?). The first was in New York, where Abby got to dress up, and received late birthday presents from Great Aunt Chris...
... and Great Aunt Marcia (though she is pictured here with Aunt Ali).
Since the New Jersey celebration was two days later, Abby got to put on a brand new pretty dress. Here she is with Aunt Ali, again.
You'd never know from that picture that just a few minutes before, Abby was in tears. I made the mistake of trying to get her to sit still on the bed in her pretty dress to take a picture, and she was not at all interested. In case you're having trouble visualizing:
My poor little monkey. The things her mommy put her through...