Sharing a throwback of when our son turned 1.

It’s been one beautiful journey, with little bumps here and there for me (mostly breastfeeding-related), but really, it’s been the most wonderful year for me and my husband so far, obviously because our little one is finally in it!

We were never big on parties, so even though thoughts of a big party to celebrate crossed our minds, our wish for an intimate and intentional celebration won in the end. We wanted to celebrate him, his one year here with us. We wanted to celebrate the child, and celebrating him did not need a big party.

So, on the day of his birth, we tried to make it as familiar as possible to him, with bits and pieces of special touches.

We started the day by waking up at his birth hour. Although we were all still up at 12:00 midnight that day (he was miraculously up, as if he knew it was his special day), we did not celebrate just yet. We wanted to celebrate on his official hour.

Well, his birth hour came, and it was only me and the hubby up. P was in deep sleep. We decided not to wake him up and possibly put him in a bad mood. I just made sure his birthday candle and table were setup for when he wakes up. My husband and I went back to sleep.

We woke up when his cake arrived, and so did P. We first gathered around the table in our jammies and told him his birthday story. Then we went down to checkout his cake.

It turned out it was my friend who delivered the cake herself, Nikki. She did the cake for one of my baby showers, so I ordered again for P this time.

I wanted a cake that my son could eat – with sugar, yes, but not too much that we’d have to keep stopping him in case he liked the taste. So, I looked for a baby-friendly recipe and fortunately found one in a baby recipe book. I gave the recipe to Nikki and asked her to layer it with her buttercream icing. This is what it looked like.

Shortly after Nikki left, another dear friend arrived, Jamie. She is P’s godparent, and was in charge of designing P’s cake. She went around the garden to look for plants for styling, and also asked for whatever chocolate we had so she could grate it for the “soil effect”.

P’s Birthday Cake styled by Ninang Jamie using his Animal Planet toys, some twigs and plants, and grated chocolate. We also did the buntings using regular paper, twine, and barbecue sticks. For the final touch, I thought LettergramPH’s letters for their letterboard also fit perfectly – and they did!

After a while, P wanted to nurse, so nurse we did. My husband, on the other hand, set up the garden for his movement area.

Rocking Boat/Steps + Pikler Triangle + Mat + Tunnel + Tub with Balls + Dome

We went down hoping P could play, but of all days, it was on his birthday that it rained (more blessings, yey!). So, we packed up his movement area while waiting for the rain to stop. When we went upstairs, he fell asleep.

That’s when I started wrapping his gifts.

To be honest, we have a loooot of unopened toys and materials that I could have wrapped as presents. But I wanted something that would surely make him happy.

So….I wrapped some of his favorite things! Yes, not new stuff. It doesn’t matter to him at this point. I wanted gifts I was sure would light him up!

Crayola Blocks, Flower, Grimms Stacker Bowels, Cat Board Book by, and Toob Travel Toys – coming soon in the Philippines! Watch out for my announcement!

When the rain stopped, we decided to bring him down for a shoot. He was still asleep when we started shooting (Ninang Jamie, a really good photographer, took our photos), but woke up shortly after.

Then, P got in the mood to play in his movement area. We followed his lead.

After moving around, he eventually climbed to me and grabbed my top, a signal for nursing.

So nurse again, we did. Meanwhile, they set up the cake so we could sing Happy Birthday to him. But first, family photo!

Our little family in my side of the family – my sister was in Malaysia for work. My other niece was still at work. The rest of our family are living abroad. His Ninang Jamie was present (she was the one who took the photo), and his Tito Volt passed by but left for work. So P had few but very familiar guests, a setup we all loved.

Then we all gathered around him to sing the Birthday Song. He likes this song because my mom-in-law would always sing it to him starting maybe a month ago. So he was prepared. He gladly listened to us sing it for him.

And then it was time to open his gifts!

I helped him by ripping the first part, then let him rip off the rest. From time to time, he still needed help in unwrapping the boxes completely. But unwrapping gifts is great fine motor skill practice for children, so we just really let him do it as much as possible.

Representation of his real gift. Soon.
When it came to his favorite CAT board book, oh…he didn’t want to open more. He just wanted to read it again and again.

After opening his gifts, we finally let him explore his cake! We didn’t need to plan or model the smashing – he just did it. 😀

First, he was taking the toppings off one by one.

Then he smashed it and tasted it. No, we did not stop him from eating to his heart’s content. 😀

When he was done, he helped clean after his mess. 😛

It was almost dinner, and we scheduled dinner at his grandparents’ house (just a few houses away from ours). Lunch was for my side of the family, and dinner was for my husband’s side since my mom can’t stay for dinner, and many of my in-laws had work till a few hours before dinner.

The best part was…we were able to still use P’s smashed cake! We sliced off the uppermost layer and worked with the remaining layers, and used another set of animals so it was a completely different theme!

So, that’s it. Daday cooked noodles, my mom brought some food, and we ordered food. Nothing fancy, just all comfort birthday food.

My in-laws also sang Happy Birthday to him, and his cousins helped him blow the cake.

It was a full day, so he was asleep shortly after dinner.

He woke up a few hours after, though, so we were able to spend time with him (just us three) – playing in the bedroom and showering him with hugs and kisses.

What a wonderful day it was. Special but familiar, just how we all wanted it.



Cake – Miss Buttercream by Nikki Valdez (we paid her PHP 2000 for our customized cake, but she did not charge us delivery fee anymore since we’re good friends). Our baby cake + her buttercream icing customized combination was a winner! We all loved the cake. In fact, as of writing, Jamie is messaging me that she’s craving for the cake. Haha. My brother-in-law said it tastes like the “beach”. In a good way. Because of the desiccated coconuts!

StylingJamie is a dear friend, so she just did the cake and shoot for P and for us (most of the photos here were taken by her), but she and her partner Love do amazing styling for events. She is also a family/ baby photographer, but she is currently on leave and will resume for that kind of work next year.

Letterboard – Letterboard may be used for everyday, or for any event! Instant decor – even just the letters are so useful. Our friend Rhiza sent us our letterboard!

Matching Clothes – For the shoot, I just wanted a uniform look for us. P and I don’t have twinning clothes, but for his special day, we did some kind of “three-ning!”

Animal Toppers – Animal Planet. Available at Ogalala (Shangri-La mall for the physical store). Also available at different toy stores, but if you buy directly from Ogalala (online or physical store) and use my discount code, you’re entitled to a 20% discount until December 2017 for regular items. No minimum purchase. DISCOUNT CODE: PAULAP20F

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  1. What a blissful and meaningful first birthday celebration ever I have pictured out. If truth be told, you all celebrated Pablo. Nothing fancy yet it was indeed a true meaning of simple celebration, special and familiar as surrounded by the celebrant’s dear loved ones. Happy 1st birthday Pablo cheers to more joyful years ahead. God bless your parents for raising you well.

  2. Thanks Paula for sharing this simple and yet very intimately meaningful bday celebration of your son Pablo. Your family is very inspiring, like you I have a son who is turning 1 next month, we love to travel with him too. I can truly relate with you esp the nursing journey. Praise God for your life and your family, continue to be an inspiration. Happy Birthday Pablo. God bless

  3. Hi Paula, where is the celebratory ring from? And all the accessories that goes with it. you are so very creative. thanks for the inspiration

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