Brayden’s 1st Birthday!

My favorite baby turned one last weekend.  Cue the tears.  I was so excited I got to travel to Tennessee to celebrate with him!

For Christmas, Chad and Megan gave me a round-trip plane ticket to visit them in Tennessee.  It just happened that we could not get schedules to line up in the months after Christmas: I just got a new job, they were moving into a new house, so we decided to hold onto it until Brayden’s birthday.  I hadn’t seen the little dude since October, so I was long overdue!  Of course, I would have loved to see them sooner, but I’m so glad I got to be there to celebrate such a huge milestone!

I took a 6:00am flight out of New York, as in the flight leaves at 6:00am, as in 3:30am wake up call… but I wanted to get there as early as possible to really enjoy the day and get all the time I could with them.  As I boarded the flight with a bachelorette party that was continuing on to Vegas, I was really questioning my decision.  But soon, the novelty of the Vegas flight wore off and everyone snoozed.  Thank goodness!  Choosing the 6:00am flight got me into Memphis at 7:49am which was awesome!  Once you realize that you have the whole day, that 3:30am wake up call seems totally worth it!  Walking out of the terminal and seeing Brayden smile and reach for me didn’t hurt either!  I was so worried that he wouldn’t remember me, that he would be afraid of this person who he hasn’t seen for almost a year, but that first smile and him wanting me to hold him was the best feeling!

Here’s me, post-flight and B, pre-nap.  It’s not pretty, but hey, what do you want from me?  I mentioned I “got ready” at 3:30am.

T and B

Then, we played for a little bit.  Kid’s got toys for days!!

B Playing

My grandparents were also in town for the party, so we went to the new house, hung out for a minute, and then began the birthday preparations.  Megan did such a great job planning the details of his party, we just had some last minute things to grab and get ready before my parents arrived the next day.

Saturday was the par-tay and it was a huge success!  The kids had fun, the adults had fun, and Brayden loved his smash cake.  Here’s the party, in pictures:

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Not sure about that sugary-sweet cake.  Had to check with Mom.

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I think he liked it!

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Naked baby in the anywhere chair his Aunt T and Uncle B gave him.  Loved celebrating this birthday boy!

Everybody: Meet Brayden

He’s my favorite baby.  He’s my nephew and he’s perfect.

He was born Saturday, August 18, 2012 at 3:35pm.  7 lbs. 15 oz. 19 in. long.

My sister allowed me to be “in the room” as my nephew was born.  Probably, because I had an awesome camera and I have fooled her into believing that I can take good pictures, sometimes.  But I insist that it’s because she loves me so much and couldn’t bear me leaving her side during such an emotional time.

Oh, that was her husband.  Right.  So, it WAS the camera.

Anywho, whatever the reason, I was there.  It was the most unbelievable thing I’ve ever been a part of and I can’t thank Megan and Chad enough for letting me share in that experience.

I spent the next two weeks helping in any way I could.  I did laundry.  I cooked.  I bounced and danced and sang the baby to sleep.  I changed my first diaper (yes, first.)  I actually held him and got him to STOP crying – major breakthrough!  If you know me at all, you know that babies don’t like me, I don’t like them.  It’s cool.  It’s something I’ve come to accept.  But this baby liked me!  I wasn’t scared of him.  He wasn’t scared of me!  Twilight zone stuff.

While I was there, we took so many pictures!!  So, let me properly introduce you to my nephew, Brayden Cameron Gilliland.

Chad, patiently waiting.

The Labor and Delivery Nurses with their gifts Megan made for them.

Mom and Dad arriving just in time

Making his grand entrance!

In Love.

I’ll leave you with a sneak peek of the photo “session” that we took in the days after he was born.  The photo at the top of the post is probably my favorite picture of all time – I love everything about it.  There’s something about the strength and intent in his eyes that make me so excited to see what kind of man he will become.  He will move mountains.  Here it is again:

Isn’t my sister beautiful?!

Look at that little ear!!

There are so many more adorable pics, but Megan hasn’t picked her birth announcements yet… so I want there to be some surprise!:)

Megan, Chad and my sweet little Brayden, I love you.