Today our sweet girl officially turned one. I couldn’t help but reminisce throughout the day about what the hours held a year ago. Our lives were forever changed when we met our daughter face to face for the first time. I still remember the awe and indescribable joy I felt as I gazed at her in those first days. A year later I still tear up when I sit looking at her and consider the incredible privilege it is to be her mama.
She has changed so much in twelve months. While she still loves to cuddle, she used to be so small she could nestle tightly on my chest while now she drapes over me and requires much more muscle to carry. In the early weeks she had just learned to smile and now she has a huge variety of facial expressions including several different smiles that spread across her face and brighten ours. For awhile she only drank mama’s milk but now she’s eating meat to make her daddy proud and digging into cake for the first time on her birthday!
Since we wanted to celebrate Arianna’s 1st birthday with family in the USA we had a big party before we left. She wasn’t quite one yet so we celebrated on her 11 month birthday. We chose a cupcake theme because Arianna is so sweet. I made a giant cupcake as her smash cake and Arianna’s grandma (my mom) helped me make other sweets including cupcakes and cake pops. It was wonderful to celebrate the life of our baby girl with our family and in American style!
One month after her first birthday bash we celebrated on her official birthday, today, with our Italian friends and “family” (in Italy). Jon created a fabulous invitation we distributed to all the people here who have been involved in her life this past year and we discovered God has blessed us with many people who care for our family.
This time around we still had cupcakes at the party which were a hit since they were different than Italian cakes, but Jon did most of the cooking creating a delicious spread to satisfy our 30 guests! We had a couple other activities for her Italian party as well. Since Arianna likes music so much we taught the Italian kids a couple of Arianna’s favorite songs: “If You’re Happy and You Know It” and “Jesus Loves Me”. Later one of our friends had written a story about Arianna’s first year and read it aloud for the group. Then, like the American party, we showed a video Jon made with highlights from her first year (stay tuned for this to be added to the blog soon) and watched Arianna eat her cake and open presents. Unlike the American party, when everyone sang to Arianna it was the Italian version of “Happy Birthday”!
Thank you to everyone near and far who have so enthusiastically watched Arianna grow throughout her first year and loved her so well! As you know, she is a sweet, spunky, expressive, friendly, easy going, adorable little girl and we are so proud to be her mommy and daddy!
Each year we choose a verse to pray over her on her birthday and throughout the year. Last year was Psalm 139:13-14 and this year we chose 1 Pet. 3:3-4.
Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.
It’s a verse we felt was very fitting since we do think Arianna is beautiful and enjoy seeing her in her pretty clothes and flower headbands, but as parents we realize it is our responsibility to nurture beauty from within her. So as much as this verse is for Arianna, it is for us to serve as a reminder that God looks within and so should we, first in the way we live our own lives and then in the way we try to guide hers. Thanks for praying with us as we look expectantly for the joys and challenges ahead as Arianna continues to grow!
-Erika for the Tellos