We celebrated Finch's first birthday at Rehoboth Beach, with just the 5 of us and no frills. Finch was suitably impressed with his first sight of the Atlantic Ocean -- he stared with saucer eyes and a gaping mouth while we walked along the beach for a mile and then back. Later, when I set him down in the sand he tasted it and played for a few minutes before crawling straight toward the water. Unlike his siblings at that age, he shows no fear and takes a good deal of vigilence. He especially enjoyed standing in the surf while I held his hands and let the water wash over his little fat feet. He also liked crawling all over our sandcastles like a marauding dragon. I think his favorite thing was watching the seagulls -- he crawled after them laughing and squealing until I thought he'd burst with the joy of it. I dug dozens of mole crabs up just so he could watch them burrow back down over and over and once I let him hold one for a moment -- I'll treasure the memory always.
On his birthday proper, we had a lovely morning playing in the sand and surf. Then Finch napped while I made cupcakes and a simple cream cheese icing for after dinner. We all took a walk on the boardwalk and the siblings each picked out a toy for their baby brother at Browseabout Books before we headed back for dinner. Finch loved the candle and the singing and, especially, his first ever bite of cake. I don't think anyone ever taught him to say 'Mmm, mmm' while eating, but he picked up on it somehow and said it over and over while cramming in the cupcakes. I'm glad we did this. It was quite a contrast to Wren's first birthday -- she had a dozen pink and yellow balloons, a dozen pink and yellow roses, a 4-layer butter cake with strawberry buttercream (I made several batches and spent hours practicing piping her name and little rosebuds!) as well as lots of guests and a huge pile of presents. It was a lovely birthday party, and I think the fuss and excess were the right thing for then, just as our pared-down version was right for now.