We swore we would not be those parents that spent a ton of money on a party that Karissa wouldn't even remember so we were trying to decide what to do. A little gathering at home seemed the most sensible at first. BUT, the more I thought about it, the more I thought that would not allow me to just be able to sit back and enjoy these special times with my family. I would have to make sure the house was cleaned prior, have it set up, clean up afterwards, entertain guests, etc. I would barely get to spend any time with Karissa....it's her birthday, shouldn't I be allowed to enjoy it with her? So we started thinking of where else we could have the party. I had all kinds of great ideas..the state park, the town park, etc. And then Dave kindly pointed out the end of November would not be the best time to have an outdoor party lol. Then it came to me....Karissa LOVES the pool. If we could have it at a pool, she'd be happy and I wouldn't have to entertain guests or clean up. A local school has an indoor pool and it turns out their rates were super cheap! So no stress for us and the whole party was less than $100...maybe even less than $75, including food and everything. I don't have pics of us in the pool because I need to get them from my parents, but here are some pics of the party.
For her actual birthday (the following day), we went to church in the morning, went to my parents, and had her take a nap. Then, for some special family time, we went to Ocean City's Festival of Lights...it was a little early to be in the Christmas spirit, but we knew Karissa would like it. She LOVED it!!!! She was wide eyed the whole time and would giggle. At the very end, she just looked up at us and gave us the biggest smile. It was so precious. (I love in the middle pic how she was leaning around Dave to see out the other side lol).
So the past year has been amazing. It's been amazing to see how God created us, how we grow and learn, and how God has provided for us and protected us. Karissa had a very rough first few months, but God brought us through that and we have loved every minute He has given us with her. Just look at how she grew!
(Her 11 month pic has a different background b/c that was our Cali vacation, but we made sure we took her bear just for her pic!)