Kayla Reid and Ryan Lochte celebrated daughter Liv's first birthday with a party at their home in Gainesville, Florida, last weekend and shared details with PEOPLE

By Adam Carlson
June 04, 2020 04:29 PM
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Ryan and Kayla Lochte's daughter, Liv, at her first birthday party
Ryan Photos @ryaphotos

It's been a year — a whole year — since Kayla and Ryan Lochte welcomed their daughter, Liv Rae, but it hardly seems that way to them.

"It hasn't hit me yet," Kayla tells PEOPLE as she opens up about the bumblebee-themed first birthday she and her Olympian husband threw for Liv on Saturday at their home in Gainesville, Florida.

The youngest of two (Kayla and Ryan welcomed son Caiden Zane in 2017), Liv "still feels like a baby," says Kayla, 28. "I can't believe it has gone by so fast. With Caiden, I felt every day, 365 days."

"She's such a mommy's girl," Kayla says of Liv, who they call "sissy girl." But she's "so much like Ryan," too: "calm and happy and sensitive."

"She's so lovey-dovey and wants to be in your arms, wants to be close to you," Kayla says. "She doesn't want to try to walk, doesn't want to try to crawl. She wants you to hold her."

For the festivities, Kayla said she chose between two themes — peaches and "everything sweet" or bumblebees — and took care to find as much as she could from small businesses. Sugar Refined Bake Shop made Liv's cakes; Feltman Brothers made her dress; and a trio of brands were behind the bee-themed backdrop and balloon arch that Kayla spotted (of course) on Pinterest and recreated for the party, wishing Liv a happy "Bee-day."

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From left: Ryan Lochte with daughter Liv and wife Kayla at Liv's first birthday party
Ryan Photos @ryaphotos
Ryan Photos @ryaphotos
Ryan Photos @ryaphotos

Befitting the season, the colors were "bright and fun" and everything was a-buzz, down to one of Liv's cakes, shaped like a beehive.

Her birthday isn't actually until June 17, but the world turned upside down this year and the family had long planned to have her birthday two weeks early because Ryan, a six-time gold medalist, had hoped to already be deep into preparations for the Summer Olympics in Tokyo. The novel coronavirus pandemic, however, postponed the Games for a year.

That also meant that party attendees — some 15 or so — were greeted by hand sanitizer at the door and at each table.

Liv, who like everyone else has been mostly at home the last few months, couldn't get enough of the activity.

"I couldn't get her to take a nap, she would not sleep, she wouldn't eat. She just wanted to be in and see what everyone’s doing," Kayla says.

Ryan Photos @ryaphotos
Ryan Photos @ryaphotos
Ryan Lochte (right) with daughter Liv at her first birthday party
Ryan Photos @ryaphotos

The pandemic has brought its challenges as well, Kayla says, though she knows it's been harder on families with older children — with canceled graduations and closed schools — and on those touched by illness.

"Some days are great, some days are hard," she says. "We really have been trying to take it day by day, trying to find the positive outlook in everything and that's pretty much all you can do."

"There's a lot of unknowns, which I feel like is so relatable," she continues. "We're all trying to navigate through this weird, unexpected and uncertain time."