Sarah’s Second Birthday Party


Sarah’s Elephant Cake (tutorial from My Cake School linked below).

Sarah turns two today, but we celebrated her birthday this past weekend by inviting 40 of her closest friends over. I know that sounds extravagant for a kid’s birthday party, but one, we often have even more over for brunch (does that sound smug?), and two, at this age, the party is more for everyone else (all of our friends with kids). When she’s older, I’ll cut it down to her actual friends. Maybe.

The party was actually pretty simple to set up: I basically made a birthday cake and what I call TFAW food. When I worked for Things From Another World (the world’s finest online and brick-and-mortar comic book shop), I catered all of our signings. I started out with superhero-themed quinoa salads and fancy canapes. After being overloaded with leftovers (no one wants to eat quinoa at an Avengers signing), I ended up making simple food everyone likes–dips, fruit, veggies, and cheese–with a firm plan for anything left over.

This menu is simple, relatively inexpensive, and perfect for almost any casual gathering. The birthday cake is a bonus! If you’re not throwing a birthday party or just don’t want to make an elaborate cake, I suggest cupcakes or (even easier) brownies.

Sarah’s Second Birthday Menu

  • Elephant Cake: This tutorial was great, and not too difficult
  • Nathan Fillion’s Seven-Layer Bean Dip of the Gods: This is seriously delicious–I spread it in a 10″ x 15″ glass Pyrex dish, so it’s easy for people to dip through all the layers
  • Salsa and Tortilla Chips
  • Veggie Platter with Spinach Dip: My mother’s specialty
  • Fruit: I went with grapes and watermelon)
  • Cheese Platter with Crackers: Since this was a kid’s party, I kept it simple: a wedge of Brie, dilled havarti, some sharp cheddar, and string cheese

Unfortunately, I don’t have many pictures because my phone died the morning of the party. We served lemonade, Arnold Palmers, flavored seltzer, and sparkling wine.

But as important as planning a menu is, it’s even more important to have an exit strategy for the leftovers. Here’s what I’ll be doing:

  • Cake: Gone, suckers!
  • Seven-layer dip: I made ersatz migas for breakfast the other morning with some tortilla chips thrown in. I’ll be adding taco meat and making burritos with the rest.
  • Veggies: The cut veggies have been going into my husband’s lunch, and Sarah and I have been snacking on the dip. Fortunately we didn’t have a lot left over–if there were more, I would have made “Free” French Vegetable soup.
  • Fruit: Lunches, breakfast
  • Cheese platter: If you know me at all, you know I have no problem taking care of extra cheese. The slices have been very convenient for sandwiches!

Do you have any go-to party food? Post below!

Sarah Is Two

img_5820Okay, all you jerks who told me to “Cherish every moment, they grow up so fast!” were right, because Sarah is two–and I don’t know how, because it certainly can’t have been two years since she was born. But I love her so much I can barely remember what life was like before her.

She’s gone from a sweet, chubby baby to a laughing, climbing toddler who loves nothing better than getting us to laugh. Oh, and eating cheese. This is my daughter, after all!

Sarah at Two:

  • I always get asked how old Sarah is, and they’re surprised she’s only two. At 35 inches tall, she’s as tall as her three-year-old friend Eva.
  • She’s sleeping through the night (yay!).
  • We’re still nursing, at least four times a day. I didn’t think I’d be that weird hippie mom, but ah well. I’ve still got tons of milk. However:
  • Because of that, I’ve never left her overnight. I guess that’s our next big step.
  • Sarah is obsessed with books. She wakes up calling, “Mommy! Book!” and insists on sleeping with one. I hope it sticks!
  • She also loooooooves elephants. And baby dolls. And pretending to sleep (her fake snoring is hilarious). And “hiding” from Mommy.
  • Her pronunciation of the words “sock,” “fork,” and “walk” all sound like the F-word. It’s awesome.

Sarah’s still a Mommy’s girl, although she enjoys Daddy as well. We might both play second fiddle to her brother Sid, who is still the best big brother ever. She also loves Sid’s best friend, Ernie, who is also crazy about Sarah. He’s a tall, stolid 12-year-old whose feats of strength and daring are legendary, so it’s so funny and cute to see him dote on Sarah.

Overall, we’re very lucky to have Sarah, and it’s been so cool to see her grow into a toddler. Happy birthday, my sweet baby. Here’s to many more!


Happy Birthday to Sarah

Sarah Birthday Dress

Sarah dressed up for her birthday!

It’s been a whirlwind of a day, with Scott and Sid (my husband and stepson) coming home from a trip to Oz Comic-Con, but something even bigger happened today: Sarah turned one year old!

Everyone always says time goes by so quickly with children, and dear god they’re right. The days are long, but the years are short. It feels like we just brought her home from the hospital three months ago!

In the past year of parenting, I have:

  • Carried Sarah–and breastfed her–while getting an in-depth tour of my friends’ new house. This included the front and back yards.
  • Left the house in a white shirt, only discovering–too late–that I had some baby poop on it. Immediately concocted a pumpkin smoothie cover story.
  • Discovered that yes, depending on the time of day, there is an acceptable amount of pee on Sarah’s clothing.
  • Eaten food that was on her face.
  • Raced into her room the morning after she slept through the night to see if she’s still breathing.
  • Blown her mind with my stellar peekaboo skills.
  • Realized I can never kiss her enough.
  • Put her down in a safe place and taken a minute to calm down.
  • Sneaked into her room to wish her goodnight before I turned in for the night. That was every night this year.

Scott and Sarah Allie

Sarah with Daddy at the hospital!

In a year, Sarah has gone from a tiny frowny burrito baby into a laughing, walking, super funny person who we love so, so much. Here’s to many more wonderful birthdays, my sweetie.

Things My Baby Ate Yesterday

  Sarah’s just four (four!) days away from her first birthday, and she’s already a champion eater of solid food. I know I’ll probably have to eat these words in a couple years when she enters the inevitable “plain pasta with butter” phase, but for now, I’m impressed:

  • Banana flaxseed muffins
  • Applesauce
  • Cereal
  • Yogurt
  • Magnet (attempted)
  • Braunschweiger 
  • Apples
  • Zucchini with tomato and basil
  • Spaghetti and meat sauce
  • Dead leaves (almost)
  • Mommy’s hair (every damn day)
  • Brie (she would like all of that now, please and thank you)

Did I mention she only has two teeth? That baby is crazy.

The Baby Diaries: Ten Months

Sarah hit the 10-month mark last Thursday while we were on vacation! Here’s my update.

I'm ten months old and I'm a happy lady!

I’m ten months old and I’m a happy lady!

Vital Stats:

Um, I’m not sure. She’s taking a nap right now. She’s huge! Bigger than the one-year-olds at Book Babies!

  • Sarah is finally crawling on her hands and knees, yay!
  • She’s also quite determined to walk, grabbing my hands and hauling herself up and stumbling around the house. She’ll even jump down off the sofa while we’re holding her.
  • The little lady can pull herself up, and . . . sit down! Kind of. It’s more like a controlled drop.
  • The big news: there are finally some teeth! Her two bottom teeth are slowly coming in. She’s been fussy this past week, but infant ibuprofen has been taking care of it. I went a little crazy and bought her one of those Baltic amber necklaces, but then I did a little research and realized the choking hazard probably outweighs the (unproven) benefits. Nice parenting.
  • Solid foods have been coming along nicely. We’ve moved beyond simple one-ingredient purees: I’ve started blending up our dinners (for example: pasta with peas and prosciutto), and she gulps it down just fine.
  • However, nursing is still going strong. This is probably why Sarah is a giant, cute Hulk baby.
  • Personality-wise, Sarah’s still sweet and friendly. She gets a little separation anxiety and is still a mama’s girl, but . . . I’m still a daughter’s lady. Not quite ready to leave her for more than three hours. I’ll probably need to work on it.

I’ve been taking her picture each month, ending at 12 months. I’ll post a gallery then!

The Baby Diaries: Nine Months

Sarah at nine months. Shown actual size.

Sarah at nine months. Shown actual size.

I’ve been meaning to write down Sarah’s milestones as she grows, but . . . well, better late than never. She had her nine-month checkup today, and all looks great!

Vital Stats:

Weight: 21 pounds, 10 ounces (this is why my wrists hurt all the time)
Height: 29.5 inches

So . . . Sarah is a big baby! 98th percentile for height, 90th percentile for weight. I’ve been, um, blessed with a more-than-plentiful supply of milk, so I guess it was inevitable. We went to Book Babies at the library this week and she was bigger than the 11-month-olds. I have her in 18-month clothing–and it’s only a little big on her!

Sarah at nine months:

  • No teeth, but still eating more and more solid foods. Sweet potatoes are her favorite, but she loves bananas, nectarines, and blueberries, and she likes peas and zucchini as well. Broccoli was shut. down. I will try again soon.
  • She just had her first meat the other day at the grocery store. The man at the deli counter gave us a sample of the ham he was cutting for us, and she was eyeing it. She definitely understands when we’re eating, and she wants to try everything!
  • Sarah is (drumroll please) sleeping through the night on a regular basis: usually 6:30 pm-6:00 am. She rarely ever got up more than once per night, but this has still been heavenly. If I go to bed at 10:00 pm, I can get eight hours of sleep!
  • We are down to two naps per day.
  • She is almost crawling. She’s doing the army crawl, dragging one leg behind and spraddling across the floor.
  • She’s always been into standing, but now she wants to do it again . . . and again . . . and again! With my help, of course.
  • Sarah is still the sweetest, easiest baby I’ve ever known. Full of smiles, especially for her brother. She even cuddles a little now. People are always drawn to her–at restaurants, the grocery store, etc. She’s very used to being told she’s cute.

So . . . is this all normal, other mamas? What’s next? And . . . when will there be teeth?