Sunday, August 31, 2014

What I Learned Making a Wedding Cake

I did it.

I made my first wedding cake. Not only did I survive, but the cake did as well (something I'm sure the bride was happy about!). The process was pretty interesting... and I learned quite a bit while doing it.

1. It takes 21 pounds of buttercream frosting to fill and decorate cake for 200 people. That's more than my daughter weighs. In fact, it's about 1.5 Elissas.



2. Making 21 pounds of buttercream frosting takes a long time.



3. When I ask my husband to add up how much of an ingredient I need, I should double-check his math.

He thought I needed 3 dozen eggs and 9 pounds of butter. I actually needed six dozen eggs and about 13 pounds of butter.

(This is why he was the one to go out to the store to buy the extra ingredients.... twice. Okay, fine - three times.)

Sigh. This is what I thought I needed. Too bad my hubby forgot to add ingredients for three of the sheet cakes.

4. You need a lot of refrigerator space to chill and store cake for 200 people. There are a lot of layers involved in the process.


5. After enough time, just looking at strawberry preserves can make you feel sick.


6. Putting edible pearls on a cake is pretty much as annoying you think it would be. And they end up everywhere. I think we'll still be finding shiny little beads in our kitchen five years from now.


7. Speaking of annoying - there are all kinds of little idiosyncrasies involved in making a wedding cake that you don't find out until doing it. Like buttercream cracking. And moving one tier on top of the next. And then realizing there's a quarter-inch gap between the layers since the layer is on a cardboard round. (My problem-solving skills were really put to the test this weekend!)


8. Spiderman likes applejuice. And he sweats. 
The bride wanted a fondant Spidey tucked in the back of the cake. Little did I realize that the fat in the buttercream was going to make this "super"hero sweat buckets. 



9. All-nighters just aren't as easy as they once were. 



10. When you have a fully finished wedding cake in the back of a car, 20mph seems like 100mph.

Brayden really wanted to drive the cake to Old Town.

11. It was actually pretty fun seeing the cake come together. 





Thursday, August 14, 2014

Toddler Reclaims Babyhood

I read and heard about different "regressions" that commonly happen to a child when a new baby is born. Potty training reverts. Language acquisition may slow down. Behavior hits a rough spot.

Perhaps I should have known better, but I didn't expect my toddler to decide he wanted to be a baby again. Pretty much everything Elissa has or does is immediately irresistible to big brother.

This includes...

Smushing himself into the baby carseat

(one of the first actions he took to reclaim his babyhood)


Insisting he tries the purees I make for Elissa


Playing with toys he hasn't touched in over a year 

...and getting grumpy when Elissa is playing with them


Fitting into anything else Elissa routinely is put in

...her Bumbo chair, her baby bath, etc. This also includes her clothes and hairbows (I saved Daddy embarrassment by not posting that photo of Brayden)

Sucking on teething rings

If Elissa ever drops one, Brayden scrambles into the room to pick it up and claim it for himself



Getting angry when I won't let him drink from a bottle (odd, since Elissa doesn't even drink from one!) or nurse


Becoming obsessed with the swaddle

Over and over again, he asked us to swaddle him. And over and over again, he practiced the craft on stuffed animals.



Arguing with me when I tell him he's a "big boy." 

He gets pretty frustrated and screams "No big boy! No big boy!"

And most recently, this gem...

Brayden slid his stool over to the pack-and-play, climbed into the bassinet and got nice and cozy. First he told me he wanted to go night-night. Then he told me to turn off the lights and go upstairs.



That is one happy toddler baby!


Thursday, August 7, 2014

Six Months?!?

Everyone said Brayden would grow up "so fast." That's true. He is.

Everyone also said Elissa would grow up even faster. That's also true. For some reason, the second baby seems to grow up even quicker than the first. Maybe it's because I'm busy chasing a toddler around (and outnumbered during the day). Maybe it's because I've already been through it once and things don't take quite as much time. Who knows. But I really can't believe my little angel is six months old.

At six months, Elissa is still as sweet, determined and feisty as ever. Watching her try to crawl is just hilarious. She is so focused on the task, and once she decides she'd rather be facing a different direction (or move a couple feet away), she starts flailing her limbs and moving that little body as much as possible. She's pretty adept at moving in a circle (always clockwise though). She'll move her little hands to the right, then her feet to the left and continue alternating them. I'm truly amazed at how quickly she can do it. I'm sure it won't be long before she's full-on crawling. She's already figured out that her knees need to come under her body and has been busy learning other dynamics of the task (usually in the morning when she should be napping!).

I suppose what's interesting to one is boring to another.
She's sitting on her own more and more these days - though it always helps if there's an interesting toy in front of her. She's also loving meal times (to the point of "hurry-up-and-feed-me-more-or-I'll-cry"). I've been giving her big chunks of fruit and veggies and letting her just gnaw on them. Watermelon and cantaloupe slices, sweet potato fries, cucumber sticks, (pitted) peaches, plums or apricots. The only one she wasn't  crazy about was cucumber. We're also giving her oatmeal and some purees. She's loving every bit of it. And like Brayden at this age, she eats like a garbage-disposal but doesn't seem to put on any weight. Between 5-7 months, Brayden was super healthy in every way, but had nearly dropped off the charts for weight (he was down to the 2nd percentile for a bit). This was despite how much he was eating - breastfeeding 5-7 times a day plus three (rather large) solid meals (my sister once remarked he ate more than her five-year-old). We chalked it up to his activity level and metabolism. Elissa is certainly following suit. She eats like a champ but is hanging out around the 5th percentile for weight. I think I've come to the conclusion that it's just something about my kids biological make-up that during this time their metabolisms kick into high gear.

Everything else is going wonderfully. Elissa is great on the sleep front, is fairly low-maintenance, doesn't cry much and is just the sweetest little girl ever. She's curious, lovably stubborn, and reliably smiley. She loves her brother dearly (when he is in the room, he captures her full attention), has an insane death grip when she doesn't want to let go of something, gets a huge grin on her face when she hears daddy's voice, and is happiest when someone is paying her attention.

In no time, she's going to be running around with her big brother. For now, I'm just enjoying the phase she's in. What a sweetheart. ♥