Sunday, August 27, 2006

The Party

Sorry this has taken me so long to post, but you know the life of a mama! :o)

Well, Emma's first birthday party went great. She did surprisingly well, even while still trying to beat her cold. Besides getting mad while I wiped her nose every two seconds, she was pretty darn content. When people first started arriving, she did the whole shy thing, hiding behind my leg, but it wasn't long before she was walking around with her little strut and blabbing loudly to anyone who would listen. She was quite the little hostess.

It ended up being a nice day. It was cloudy, but it didn't rain, which was my main concern. My mom and dad's place is nice and roomy, so I felt like everyone fit comfortably. After Emma's baptism, I decided against trying to squeeze everyone in our townhome. It was nice having everyone see our place, but I do realize people like to do things like breathe at parties.

Even with all of the craziness, Emma ate her dinner all gone, with room to spare for cake (we'll get to that later…)

She did start to get tired pretty early and almost approached meltdown phase during presents, but then again, so did I. It was pretty overwhelming. First of all, this girl got a gazillion presents—and they were all huge! She was MORE than spoiled. Let's see, she got an American Girl Bitty Baby, a car, a house, a sandbox, a couch, a shopping cart full of food, the cutest books ever, and an adorable fall wardrobe… As my sister put, she pretty much won the Showcase Showdown!

(Um, Emma, sorry: Mommy and Daddy only got you the pretty dress you are wearing—yeah, the one with the bows that are totally annoying you—but look at all these nice people we invited to Grandma's house who buy you really cool stuff!)

Seriously, as usual, our family and friends were EXTREMELY generous. I hope it goes without saying how very thankful I am for every one of you. It's obvious how much you all love Emma, and that is truly the best gift. Emma WILL grow up knowing how blessed she is because of the PEOPLE in her life, not the things. Thank you all so very, very much!!

I would say opening the gifts was probably the most exhausting part of the day. With about 4 little kids trying to "help" Emma open her gifts, I had to find every ounce of patience within me. I wanted Emma to tear paper and all that stuff, but I quickly learned that she had no interest in doing any sort of sitting still with all these people and toys around. You can picture the scene: So-and-so child asking me to open this gift, while another child says, "No, that gift," while another is already opening a different gift. Meanwhile, Emma is falling on top of all of them, trying to escape my grasp as I read her a card that she has already torn in half. BUT, once I pulled Jeff out from behind the video camera, it got better. He (sorta) kept Emma content while the rest of us opened gifts. In the end, it was one of those moments when you just have to laugh. (And admit to yourself that you will not have 4 or 5 kids…ever.)

Okay, on to the Great Cake Debate: We all know about Emma's "allergy issues," so giving her a birthday cake was, of course, a source of total stress for me. Do I try to find an "acceptable" cake to make even though I have no idea how to bake? Do I let it go and let her dig in and pray that she doesn't suffer? Or do I skip it all together?

Well, against God's obvious message that baking is NOT one of my gifts, option 1 was the winner. Thankfully, I went through a trial run the day of her actual birthday. That was perhaps the best decision ever, seeing as I would have completely embarrassed myself otherwise. Here's why:

Check out the recipes for the dairy-free cake and dairy-free frosting. Easy enough, right? Well, first note the oven temperature listed: 165 degrees. Yeah, I thought that seemed a bit strange, but then again, I don't bake. (Let's also forget for a second that I write about appliances for a living, because obviously I did.) So I preheat the oven to…wait, my knob only goes down to 200 degrees. NO PROBLEM. It does turn past that, so I simply "guess" where 165 should be. I'm sure professional ovens offer ultra-low temperatures for people who do things like bake on a weekly basis.

Next, mix the ingredients. Step one, "Beat egg whites until stiff but not dry." Huh? I'm just proud that I actually separated the eggs! (By the way, it takes about a dozen eggs to make 1-½ cups of egg whites!!!) Okay, so I start to manually beat the eggs, and I notice that they are just getting soupier, not stiffer (whatever that means), so I stop and naturally add the other ingredients.

Not knowing anything was wrong, I continued on and baked what ended up taking the shape of a cake. Sure, when Jeff flipped the cake stand over onto Emma's high chair, "it" looked like a glob of oatmeal, but hey, what do you expect with a dairy-free cake? (Note: I didn't make the dairy-free frosting because I didn't have the ingredients yet.) Emma seemed to enjoy it…well, for the most part. You be the judge:

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So, the night before the party, I reread the directions and realized my mistakes: Did you notice the "C" next to 165?". Well, I didn't. I was supposed to bake this thing at 325 F. And for any of you that know baking (or have an ounce of common sense), you beat egg whites with an automatic beater for like 10 minutes, when they will transform into a whole other substance similar to meringue.

Needless to say, cake number 2 turned out much better! Emma enjoyed it much more, although she wouldn't get messy. She methodically fed herself frosting and pieces of cake, but didn't start getting gooey until she wasn't hungry anymore and started playing with the cake. It wasn't that bad, but scraping dried oats off of her skin wasn't that fun either. Although you're never too young to start exfoliating!!

Emma pooped out around 7pm and was fast asleep by 7:30pm. She never even woke up during the transfer from my parent's house to our house. This party girl was done for the night.

So there you have it. Probably more party details than you wanted, but wait, there's more! Pictures!!! Don't worry, I only picked a few. Enjoy and thanks again to everyone who made it to the party!

Welcome to the Party!
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No, this is NOT the cake I made. This one is courtesy of Sam's Club.
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This is… uh, yum!!
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All done!
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Some Party-goers!
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A bow and a baby… exactly what I wanted!!
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6 comments:

Amanda said...

So you don't want to try having 4 kids??? What's wrong with that??? LOL!
Sounds like a busy, fun-filled, 1st birthday party for Emma. We did the same thing for Luke, but the other two only got 'family'(as in mom and dad) parties (celebrations with grandparents at other times)...I couldn't handle the craziness again. :) For Annaliese's 1st birthday, she was sporting a black eye, courtesy of big brother, Luke. That made for some great pics!
Thanks for sharing...hope Emma has fun playing with all her new stuff! :)

JD said...

Sounds like fun - and I think we can all remember the stress of trying to open gifts with a 1 year old. You think its going to be "so much fun" and you're soooo wrong:) I'm sure she had fun and thats all that matters.

I have to tell you, Lisa, that first cake looked like the most disgusting thing ever;) So glad you re-read the instructions and started over:) Really funny!

Adventures In Babywearing said...

THANK YOU for posting about the cake... Gray turns 1 in October and I am already thinking about his cake, which must be dairy-free too!

Mama C-ta said...

What fun and thanks for the update. Not quite as good as actually being there but it'll have to do, sigh :)

Emma seemed to enjoy the cake regardless! I keep meaning to ask you if you've given her soy yogurt (or soy anything) yet. I didn't know if you were still soy free too. I hope she outgrows it soon but you are handling it wonderfully.

Happy Belated bday Ms. Emma. We love you!

Glass Half Full said...

Ah - first birthdays!! They are fun, stressful, and emotional all at once.

Thanks for sharing the photos!! :)

Mommy Brain said...

I'm glad the cake part two came out better...the first one looked like oatmeal :0! Yikes! Glad to hear you had a good party...4 kids isn't so bad!