Sunday, January 31, 2010

I know, I know...a little late and a lot long. Ready, set, go...


December 8th it was. Very neurotic I was.

I had decided to host a simple “Open House” and let people drop by in the afternoon on Saturday the 12th. The original plan was to provide some snacks, make it low key and not overdo it…there will be plenty of time for that, right?

WRONG. I went off the deep end.

I actually baked two cakes that week, made the frosting from scratch and decorated them myself. (See below for the cake parade)

Bought all kinds of silly decorations after I promised Baby-daddy I wouldn’t,

Organized all her photos from birth, printed and framed a select few for display. This one is a retrospective of her 1st week, 1st month, 3rd month, 6th month, 9th month and 1 year…(I said I went off the deep end didn't I?)

Made lots of signs and party favors for the guests,

Actually created wine bottle labels – the idea was to make something cute to hide the fact that we were serving “Two Buck Chuck” to our guests…but I became a mother obsessed. I spent three days making these labels…

I got really clever with this I must say. Check out the front and back…

And then I created a fancy spread when I was trying to keep it simple and, more importantly in my hour of unemployment, economical,

I completely rearranged furniture to be in “party mode” and found fun things that haven’t been touched in months neatly hidden under the couch…thus bringing to an end my excuse for not working out,

Only to have Lia completely reject my beautiful birthday cake,

And then burst into tears when we sang the birthday song to her,

There were so many people there. She was completely overwhelmed. She’s only been on earth for one year, just getting the hang of being a little human, and her mother throws a huge bash for her complete with loud drunks and screaming children. It was like a family reunion really.

This is the point where I felt like a selfish mother. I did all this for ME. Not for her. She’ll never remember it…and if she does, she’ll probably ask me to pay for her therapy when she’s 30.

Did I mention it rained all day and we lost power? Yeah.

Actually, the party was very fun. :) A lot more people showed up than I expected…even in the rain! Of course there were candles burning all over the house which made me a bit nervous what with the children running amuck. But it was fine.

Now, I need to back up for a moment. First of all, we had a little celebration on Lia’s actual birthday (which was Tuesday) with her grandparents in Ohio via Skype. For this intimate soiree, I decided to bake a sugar-free, all organic cake with homemade frosting. Since she had never had sugar before I didn’t want to shock her system. I was trying to be the good mommy and make a baby-friendly dessert. The ironic part about this is that ONLY good thing about this sad-looking cake was the frosting, and that even looked tired. I used Agave to sweeten the cake…which I’ve discovered is splendid in my tea every morning, but tastes like ass in baked goods.

I mean look at that lumpy white blob! Cute birthday hat though. :)

Lia thought the frosting was fun…but she didn’t want to dive into the cake like most one-year-olds do. So we smeared it on her nose. To satisfy ourselves, of course…

Does that make us bad parents?


After the first attempt, I was determined to make the best cake ever and not disappoint and ultimately embarrass my daughter on her first birthday, ruining her for life. (Like she really cared.) So, I went to a cake store and bought two heart shaped pie pans, one smaller than the other. Then, found a recipe for the “best easy cake mix” online…which happened to be a recipe someone got from their kid’s grade school. How could I screw this up right? I totally guessed at the amount of cake mix because of my odd-shaped pans and threw them in the oven.

I baked two large hearts and one small. Why not make this even more challenging for the mom-who-doesn’t-cook by creating a 3-tiered cake? Of course!

But they survived my dilapidated oven. Hurray!

After the hearts cooled, I also learned on the internet a fabulous trick for spreading frosting. Apparently, if you spread a very thin, watered down version of your frosting over the cake (which was heavy cream whipped fluffy with vanilla and cream cheese) then freeze it overnight, it catches all the little crumbies and “seals” the cake. This is called “Crumb Coat.” See there…I taught you something today.

The next day, the frosting glides on the cake and you don’t have to worry about serving your guests a ghetto-looking glob of dough. Perfect!

However, to spruce it up I thought, “Hmmm, let’s add some strawberries in between the layers.” Not knowing what I was doing, I just winged it. It was a very tense moment, but I pushed bravely on and nothing fell apart!

I stuck my three-tiered, strawberry-filled, crumb-coated cake in the freezer and prayed til morning.

The next day was the morning of her party. Nervously, I took the cake out of the freezer. To my surprise, the crumb coat worked! I easily painted the rest of the frosting over all the layers and produced a beautifully frosted, crumb-free piece of art!

Added fresh strawberries, raspberries, a candle and voila! Look at my cake!

Yes, I was very proud of this cake. I even accosted guests trying to leave early from the party so they could peek in the freezer at my gorgeous cake. (I said I got neurotic, didn’t I?) Now that I look back on this I realize how crazy they probably thought I was. Oh well. Lia won’t realize how damaged her mother is until she’s well into college. By then, she’ll have her own problems to deal with.

So…the moral of the story is, if you plan to go bananas for your first child’s birthday (which trust me, it WILL happen), just be sure to protect the innocent. I.e., watch your neuroses around the Baby-daddy. It’s not fair if the night before the party you go decide to go bat-sh*t crazy and attempt to lure them in to your freak show of compulsion. You’re better off going it alone on this one.

Happy Birthday Beautiful!


We waited until the last minute to make Christmas plans and ended up not doing anything. Which was just fine with me after spending weeks on her birthday extravaganza. I was exhausted. Truly. But then, surprise, surprise! We had a last minute guest who was orphaned for Christmas. So I entertained…yet again. I’m getting really good at making garlic mashed potatoes btw.

Basically, between her first birthday and Christmas, our daughter has accumulated enough toys to start a preschool...

Hope everyone had a beautiful holiday ~ however you celebrate this time of year. :) This pic is a house in the Venice Canals – can’t quite capture it in a photo. It’s actually two houses side-by-side that the owner decorates for every holiday.

Quite a spectacle with animatronic Santas, snowmen and giant helium filled balloons on the roof. I always wonder how the guy can afford it. I’ve heard this isn’t even where he lives all year round…that it’s just a vacation home. Then I remember, “Oh right, he owns 2 huge houses in the Venice canals. He's probably a famous actor or studio exec in Holly-weird. Duh.”

This is the land of the “haves” and the “have-nots.” Sadly, there are way more “have nots”. But that will change for us after Lia books her first Gap commercial!


Lia played with the boys while mommy and daddy drank lots of champagne. Come to think of it, all her play dates are boys for some reason…takes after mommy I guess.

I love this photo…

Looks like baby boy #1 on the right is chatting up Lia, while baby boy #2 is making his move to get in on the action and push baby boy #1 out of the picture.

Lia looks like she’s saying, “You expect me to believe that? Moron.”

And I cooked. For people. Again! Yes, really.

Nothing like planning a last minute dinner party for New Year’s with other last minute parents. New-parent-syndrome I guess. All our kids are around the 1 year mark. No one wanted to get a babysitter. So we all landed at our place.

I rallied and Lia wore her new pretty blue dress for the occasion. Of course it lasted no more than 3 minutes when our guests arrived. She spilled water all over herself after freaking out because one of her boyfriends bopped her on the head. I told Baby-daddy to take this picture of us before something happened.

And I was right. I’m always right.


Hanging out at home with Mom & Dad watching the Rose Parade on New Year’s Day…

I guess I should take the tree down now before people start to point and stare at us from the street.

Bye bye Christmas! See you next year tree! Adios lights! Arrivederci 50-year old claymation Rudolph! Farewell Vince Guaraldi Trio! See you next year Charlie Brown! See you next year…

And Happy New Year from Baby New Year!!!

p.s. What? It’s the last day of January. I can still officially say Happy New Year.
p.s.s. Can you tell I like Christmas?
p.s.s.s. {phew!} Is it going to be like this every year? Thanksgiving, Birthday, Christmas, New Year’s Eve…etc, etc… Guess I better get used to it.


I need a glass of wine.


Post a Comment