Elijah Ray: 1 year old.

Today is Elijah's first birthday! We went up to St. Louis to visit Uncle Andy, Aunt Caitlin, and cousin Daniel. Aunt Erica and Uncle JR drove over from Columbia, and we were totally surprised by Nate's parents who came too!

Saturday morning, we went out to Castlewood State Park and walked/hiked with the boys. Then we ate at Pi, which is one of my favorite St. Louis eateries. Especially after hiking.

After lunch, we went to Forest Park. Lyle had two inflatable kayaks that we put out on the water. You can rent paddle boats (which we did last summer) so we weren't sure if bring-your-own-watercraft was allowed, but a police officer on a bike passed us a few times and didn't say anything.

Daniel and Elijah lounged on a blanket, and climbed all over Erica. Then Elijah kissed Daniel. I almost melted. So sweet.

Kisses for cousin Daniel
On Sunday, Caitlin hosted an awesome birthday party for Elijah at Shaw Park. Elijah did not want to eat cake, but Daniel was glad to step in for cleanup. These boys! Elijah is a bit cautious and Daniel has no reservations. So we joke, "Give it to Daniel; he'll eat anything!" or "Let Daniel try. He'll do anything!"

Birthday boy sporting a forehead bruise from falling into a chair leg the night before.

Elijah's party was themed after one of his favorite books, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom.
(which might be second only to Where's My Nose?)

Elijah loves balloons!

On the drive home, Elijah read one of his new books.
Elijah did really well on the way home. He slept some, only cried when he needed a diaper change, and was generally happy—which makes driving 5 to 6 hours a lot less stressful for Mom. I really want to make time to put together a book of photos from his first year and reflect a little more in writing. First birthday feels somewhat like a celebration that Nate and I did it. We survived! By the grace of God. It's been a blast. Love you, Elijah-boo.

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