March 24, 2012

The Party

Part One was published yesterday. This is a photo-heavy post, so beware!

I rose the morning of Amelia's party with my mind racing. I had so much to do before 11, when we planned to leave. Luckily for my sanity, Amelia woke in a good mood and I got some cuddles in before doing anything else.

Scott had gone to get ice to put all the drinks in, but I was impatient and helped Amelia open all her presents from us as soon as she was awake enough to appreciate them. I we had bought her a rocking moose and a few other things from Ikea, and I gave her a couple of books I had meant to give her at Xmas but forgot about.

Then came the boring but important stuff. More food!

I made the cake pops, swirled them in chocolate, and left them to set. I didn't have enough time to make the vegemite swirl, but I didn't think it would be missed. I got Amelia dressed in her special birthday dress, showered myself, and we set off. A hundred things happened before all that, but I can't remember any of it... I just hoped against hope there weren't too many other people at the park.

When we arrived, my fears were realised. There was another party going on! I sent Scott to ask how long they were going to be there, and if a lady sitting alone at a different table was able to move to make room for us. She rather rudely said no, so we had to change the plan a little. There was a cafe not far from where I wanted to be, so we set up there and hoped we wouldn't be kicked out. As it turned out, this was one of the best moves we could have made.

Amelia had fallen asleep in the car on the way, so I stayed with her until she woke, again in a good mood. People had started to arrive, so we made our big entrance.
 I'd bought Amelia's dress from Amazon, but had neglected to check the arrival date until I'd already paid. Of course, it was long after the party would be over. Someone somewhere (Ianto?) must have wanted me to get that dress, though, because it arrived far ahead of time! Everyone told me what a pretty dress it was, and I have to agree. Amelia was the most beautiful one-year-old girl to grace this planet.

The party was a roaring success, aside from the fact that most of my food didn't get eaten. So much money down the drain, all because I catered more to the kids than the adults. Not having much table space didn't help.

But what about the cake? I hear you ask. Well, see for yourself...

Isn't it gorgeous? I was so proud of myself, pulling it off so well. It's obviously not perfect, the icing not as smooth as I would have liked, but for my first real attempt at a themed and shaped cake, I'd say I did a bloody fantastic job!

After a while, the party wound down. People started saying goodbye, and Amelia was getting tired. She fell and smacked her face into the concrete at one point, which drew a little blood and a lot of tears. Luckily, some Mummy hugs and a bit of booby made it all better.

My friend Lily (who saw Amelia born) and I headed to the change room to get new nappies on our girls, and chatted about how everything had gone. When we came out, we were shocked. Everyone was suddenly gone! We'd only been away for a few minutes, but in that small window the remaining guests had left. It was eerie.

We stayed maybe fifteen minutes longer, chatting away and laughing about the suddenness of everyone scattering. Scott started packing up the car, drove Lily to the entrance of the parklands, and I was alone with the birthday girl once more. We were both sore and tired from the day, but there were birds to chase! She chased them, I chased her, and we fell about laughing before heading home. All in all, there's not much I would have changed aside from the food situation and the blood on her nose.
I hope you've enjoyed having me back. Here's hoping I don't go away for too long again...

March 23, 2012

One and Two year(s) old!

I really need to start writing posts as soon as I think of them, rather than think about it. Sorry you all haven't heard from me in well over a month. I've been fairly well, no big changes in our lives. Except... I have a one-year-old! And a two-year-old!

 I'm still trying to adjust to the fact that Amelia's birthday has been and gone. It felt strange being able to cuddle her for her birthday, as opposed to visiting a grave. Then again, I was so busy on Ianto's first birthday (remember, "Cookie" had flipped breech?) that we didn't even get to him. Having an actual child to sing happy birthday to is a hundred times better, too.

For Ianto's birthday this year, I decided to make up for last year and held a very small party by his graveside.

Yes, it says "Happy 2nd Ianto"... I couldn't fit the word "birthday" on, okay?
When we got there, I threw some glittery things around that said "Happy Birthday" while Scott put down a picnic rug. We sang the birthday song, and had a cake I'd baked and decorated. Amelia was rather fond of it, which gave me hope for her own party since I was making hers as well. After that, we just packed up and left, leaving a piece of cake for the birthday boy. At least graveside parties are easy and not too stressful!
Amelia scoffing some cake
I had to do a rainbow cake, didn't I? You'd be disappointed if I didn't.

And so, to Amelia's birthday. I had stressed for weeks - nay, months - over the details. I took over six hundred photos to get the invitations perfect. I bought two different editions of the Womens Day Kids Birthday Cake Book. I purchased a lot of different tools to put the cake together, and I pored over recipe sites for food ideas.I had to get it perfect.

The day approached fast, faster than I'd wished it. I spent most of the preceding two weeks collecting ingredients and supplies. I looked up how long things would last in the fridge, and pre-made a few things. I worried that I had too many sweets and not enough savouries. But my main concern was The Cake.

I had originally decided on the merry-go-round cake - challenging, but pretty - but soon changed my mind to something simpler. The One Shaped Cake. It looked easy, and the photo they had in the book was adorable. But it didn't suit. I scrabbled to decide on a theme for this cake, until the Ponies arrived in my life. Yes, somewhere in the interim, I became a fan of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. After a few weeks of watching these adorable creatures, I decided to theme Amelia's cake on my our favourite character - Fluttershy.
The day before the party, I started baking. Cake one didn't rise properly. It was risen on one side but not the other. I started panicking a little. Cake two was substantially better, almost perfect. Cake three... Cake three didn't play nice to begin with, not baking all the way through, but I popped it back in and kept a close eye on the oven. Perfection. I let them chill a while, and cut them into the correct pieces later that night before doing a "crumb layer" of icing.

Then the time came to ice it completely. I'd spent weeks practising, and this was my only shot at it. I started icing...

Midnight came, and it was Amelia's birthday. I tiptoed into our bedroom, climbed onto the bed, and gently kissed my beautiful one-year-old on the forehead. She stirred a little, but didn't wake, and I went back to what I was doing in the kitchen, going to bed myself an hour or two later.

End of Part One. Part Two (The Party) coming tomorrow!