We've started birthday season here -- which also happens to be the height of the legislative calendar as all my bills are up for hearing and the budget process in California is in full swing. Add in Kai's school calendar and activities, tax season, Eric's work activities, Alden's classes, home projects, and just the day to day work of keeping everything going and... well... I never find time to write.
But, time keeps ticking -- and just like we were rushing last year to finish decks and wrap up all my work when my water broke at 1 AM on March 27th, forcing us to realize that this little person wasn't going to wait for us any longer... so too, he turned one and we somehow pulled off an amazing celebration.
I'm so glad we were able to throw a big bash. At first I wasn't sure if we should -- because they are a lot of work, and he isn't going to remember any of it. But, Alden's first year was a crazy year for us, and it was a good time to take a pause and just celebrate all that occurred this last year -- mostly, to celebrate him.
We all feel so lucky to have Alden in our family. He completes us. He's our go-along baby... he has been so patient with us during all the transitions this year. People at Kailey's school always remark that they never hear him cry or fuss. He really doesn't cry much. Only when he really needs something. But, he does point and SHOUT with the best of them. He demands the things he wants, pointing emphatically and if you grab the wrong thing he shouts again, thrusting his finger even more determinedly in the direction of the desired object. He can be extremely insistent. Insistent and laid back... is that a thing?
He loves to catch people's attention and engage with others. He has an amazing smile. Lately, he's been scrunching up his face, trying out new ways of getting people to pay attention to him. When he does something that makes everyone laugh, you can see him light up, pause to think about what it was, and then try it again.
My parents and Katie were able to be here for this celebration. In many ways, it felt a lot like Kailey's first birthday party. Except, this time, we had it at our house since our house has enough outdoor space to accommodate a crowd. As Kai says, it's like we moved to a park.
But, we had a lot of the same people at both parties. Sarah, Doug, Penny, Max, Brian, Deb... and then we had new people. The folks we have started spending time with here in Sacramento and our work colleagues.
We worked hard to get the yard ready -- and it looked amazing.
Alden enjoyed his party. We put water in the water table for him, and he had a great time splashing around with Will and watching (and idolizing) Max. He LOVED the bubble machine and squealed in delight at the stream of bubbles. He loved being on the swings and just taking in all the people. Alden doesn't get easily overwhelmed. He seems to enjoy a good party.
I thought cake time might freak him out -- but, he seemed fine with everyone singing to him.
It took him awhile to realize that the cake we put before him was all for him and he could just tear into it. But, eventually, he got into the swing of the smash cake. (there was a bit -- HUGE -- cake for the guests and a matching smash cake for Alden. Too cute!)
Once everyone left, we opened presents.
Alden loved each gift -- especially the drum. I knew he'd love that drum. He is such a musical baby. When we have the music on in the car, he'll sing along. And, one of the children's CDs has songs that end with a "sing and repeat" -- so the person on the CDS will sing a few notes and pause so that the listener can repeat those notes back. Alden loves trying to match the tones and he has gotten quite good at it.
He also liked trying out his new walker.
Katie was in town a couple of days after the party and my parents stayed the rest of the week -- which was nice. We went to the train museum and went on a few other outings. Mostly, we just hung around the house. Everyone was fighting colds -- so, we tried to take it a bit easy.
On Saturday morning, my parents left and we decided to go to Tahoe for the night, to cap off the birthday week. We packed up and found a great deal on a hotel. After arriving, we got into swimsuits and headed down to the HUGE hot tub (more like a small swimming pool) and splashed around. Alden was laughing and playing with Kailey. After about 45 minutes, we got out to dry off and get ready for dinner. At that point, I noticed that Alden's coloring was a bit off and he seemed out of sorts. I told Eric I was worried about him. It was like someone had flipped a switch. He had been fine, but he was suddenly lethargic and cranky in a way that is not typical of him. We walked to a nearby restaurant, and Alden just kept his head on my shoulder the whole time. He feel asleep during dinner, completely uninterested in eating anything. Also not like him at all. We returned to the hotel and Alden continued to sleep -- although sort of moaning in his sleep. We knew he'd been fighting a bit of a cold, as we all had, so we let decided to just let him rest.
About 3 hours later, at 10:30, Alden woke up vomiting. It was gross. We sprung into action trying to clean things up and assess Alden. He was really unhappy and seemed to be having some trouble breathing (his nostrils were flaring and his little chest was working overtime). We called the doctor and they told us to take him to the Emergency Room.
So, at 11 PM at night we headed to the ER. They assessed Alden and found his oxygen levels were low (in the low 80s -- you want to be in the 90s). The hooked him up to oxygen and did a chest x-ray and took a urine sample. All of which was met with wailing, thrashing and howling from Alden. It was awful.
At about 2 AM, they told us that they needed to admit us since Alden's oxygen levels were remaining low. For the next two nights, we were in the hospital with Alden. He got a shot of antibiotics, and started improving after that. Once he was able to maintain oxygen levels while awake, they let us go home and we rushed back down to Sacramento where we'd be at sea level and he could breathe a bit easier.
Not exactly how we wanted to cap the birthday celebration. But, at least he's OK. We feel so thankful to have this amazing little person in our life. Happy 1st birthday, Alden. We love you so very much.