Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011: A Year In Review

It's been a crazy year. CRAZY. Here's how it broke down:

We frantically prepare for Funkhouser to join the fold. Norah earns her place as the easiest kid of all times to potty train and settles into her big girl room. I remember how horrible late pregnancy is. Norah starts, and loves, ballet. We spend a lot of time at the beach. BVZ comes to the realization that he is really unhappy and needs a new job.


It rains, and rains, and rains some more. Norah jumps in a lot of puddles. We spend as much time as possible doing fun things with her. This includes seeing the tragically bad, "Gnomeo and Juliet." I suffer from late pregnancy anxiety attacks and come down with a terrible head cold and case of bronchitis the day after going on maternity leave. Bubby arrives and takes over. Louis GVZ is born via scheduled c-section and is every bit as awesome as we expected him to be. Norah is in love.

I spend four horrific nights in the hospital and have a difficult recovery from the c-section. Louis is diagnosed with a tongue tie and has it clipped once. Louis comes home and Norah bakes a birthday cake for Bear. Four separate professionals advise against clipping Lou's tongue any further, despite his inability to latch and successfully nurse. I pump. Then I get mastitis. We get an amazingly awesome king sized bed. BVZ takes four weeks of paternity leave and takes care of me and Louis. Bubby is a godsend and takes care of Norah. Norah turns out to be an amazing big sister, just as we expected. I have never been so happy to have such good friends. G.G. visits Norah and meets Lou before undergoing hip replacement surgery. I pump more. Louis barfs. Bubby and I watch a lot of HGtv. The month passes in a blur.

I pump. Louis barfs. BVZ goes back to work. We tearfully let Bubby go home. I adjust to taking care of a newborn and a toddler (thankfully, Norah still spends three days a week with Pamma and Ruby). Louis smiles all of the time. Sweet baby Lucas turns one. Louis's butt explodes in Norah's hair. We spend a fun Easter Sunday with friends. Louis successfully latches for the first time and then barfs a stomach-full of blood (mine). After eight long weeks, Louis becomes exclusively formula fed. I feel guilty about it for about five minutes. Louis goes to urgent care for the first (and only) time, due to suspected, but thankfully unfounded, pink eye. Norah becomes obsessed with who has a penis and who doesn't. I celebrate my 35th birthday and officially enter my "mid to late" thirties. BVZ unsuccessfully looks for new job opportunities in the bay area.

Amy and Reid come out for a fabulous visit. We go to the beach. Amy, Norah, and I all get food poisoning. Norah and I get sicker than we thought possible, but are at home. Amy gets sicker than we thought possible, but is on a plane. With a baby. We celebrate BVZ's 37th birthday with ice cream cake. I get mastitis again, with a suspected abscess. We spend well over $200 in co-pays before I am released from the specialist's care. Louis thrives. Norah expands her vocabulary by what seems like 50 words a day and keeps us in stitches. We celebrate a belated Mother's Day at the beach.

Stephanie, Megan and Trevor come out for the best long weekend possible. Louis grows an inordinate amount of hair. Norah has her last day with Pamma and Ruby with a great many tears shed. Norah starts pre-school and loves it. The birthday season kicks off and we spend many weekends at super fun kid parties. G.G. comes to visit. We turn the backyard into a fairy wonderland, complete with a real, live fairy, and Norah has an unforgettable third birthday party. Bubby arrives and Norah turns three. We celebrate for multiple days with multiple cakes. Louis proves to be the easiest baby in the universe, even with all the barfing. I stop fighting the inevitable and buy Norah a princess nightgown. BVZ is increasingly unhappy at work.

The birthday season continues and we get to see lots of our favorite friends. Aunt Vanessa comes to visit, so we get to spend the afternoon with her, Grandpa Gene, and Ms. Mary. Louis tries rice cereal for the first time and is unimpressed. I continue to figure my way as the primary care taker of two. Norah coats herself in Vick's Vapo-Rub at the exact same time that Louis has the world's biggest diaper blow-out. Norah discovers her love of sushi and intense dislike of seaweed. We visit Fairyland for the first time with Caroline and Kevin and Norah never stops talking about it. We finally meet Helyn and James, the cutest twin babies of all times. BVZ's unhappiness at work reaches a critical mass. Louis stops sleeping in long stretches and we buy him a $40 magic sleep suit. Norah trips on stairs and smashes her face at Ruby's birthday party. We go to the beach a lot. We lose Caleb there once (thankfully, just for a minute). Norah and Ruby go to Build a Bear together. BVZ goes on a job interview in Austin. He gets an offer the next day at a small, up and coming firm. He applies for two other jobs in Austin just to make sure he has options. He goes on two more interviews and gets two more offers. We agonize. He takes the first offer.

It becomes very apparent we are moving to Texas and moving soon. BVZ resigns and is content. And excited. I tearfully leave my job and my co-workers throw me an amazing farewell lunch. We meet with a real estate agent and get quotes from moving companies. We go to Fairyland with Caleb, Lucas, and Ruby. Norah makes me pinky swear we will come back when she is four and can go on the dragon slide. We buy four one way tickets to Austin. Kiki comes to town to help pack. She is a task master and reminds BVZ about seventeen times that taking Louis on a long walk does not qualify as "helping." G.G. and her new and improved hip fly in for a quick visit. We spend as much time with friends as possible. I cry a lot. Norah cries a lot. Norah and Ruby try to have a sleepover that ends at about 11:00 pm. Louis has his final echo-cardiogram and graduates from the cardiologist's care. Amy, Stephanie and Bubby find us a house to lease and prepare for our arrival. We visit with friends and family every chance we get. Movers come and take all of our stuff. We buy Loretta a plane ticket. We ship our cars. We say good-bye and get on the plane.

We spend a week at Bubby's house while our stuff is in route. We buy a lot of new furniture. We get lost in our giant, lovely rental house. I bask in the glory that is more than one bathroom. Our Belmont house gets landscaped and staged and goes on the market in exceptional condition and for $95,000 less than what we bought it for. We encounter several Texas sized roaches. BVZ has a mild heart attack every time he sees one (thankfully, it is only three times). We catch up with old friends. Norah starts a new school and has a hard time missing her old friends. We meet new, mostly nice, neighbors and adjust to driving everywhere we have to go. We get to celebrate with Trevor at his birthday party. BVZ starts his new job and loves it. I start working one day a week downtown doing post-conviction capital defense, and love that too. The Belmont house is on the market for 19 days before we get the first offer. We counter, they accept. It sells for $23,000 under asking. Norah asks to see her cousins every single day.

Norah continues to be a big, giant ball of awesomeness. Louis is too, despite the fact that he is sleeping only sporadically at night and refuses most all forms of solid food. Escrow closes on the Belmont house and we write a heartbreakingly gigantic check to Wells Fargo. We settle in, missing friends, but loving the family here and all the support (and free babysitting). BVZ officially becomes a super star at the new job. Kiki comes to visit. We host a fun Halloween party.


Norah starts a new ballet and tap class. We have a fun overnight adventure to San Antonio and see an old friend. Baby Ella (aka, Baby Goo Goo) is born. Louis becomes increasingly mobile and manages to get his poop covered hands in his actual mouth. G.G. and Vanessa come to visit and we celebrate Thanksgiving/Christmas with them. We eat at the Salt Lick and I contemplate vegetarianism. Something finally clicks in Louis' brain and he is officially on the move.

Norah and I take a girl's trip to California. Norah brings home 400 different strains of pre-school cooties and we all stay sick for about a month. Louis takes two courses of antibiotics and is generally miserable. Reid turns one and Stephanie and I make a dinosaur cake. Kiki comes to town for a long visit. Louis decides crawling makes him hungry and starts eating like a teenage boy and sleeping 12 hours at night. We celebrate a wonderful Christmas surrounded by awesome family. Norah is obsessed with the holiday and makes it genuinely magical. Mark and I come in second at the annual cooking contest. The kids play with their new train table every second of every day.

I never imagined at this time last year this is where we would be, but here we are and it's pretty sweet. We are so lucky to have such great family and friends, spanning multiple states. Everyone is happy and healthy and I could not possibly ask for anything more. We are looking forward to all that 2012 will bring...Louis turning one, buying a new house, having lots of out of town visitors, and spending as much time with cousins as humanly possible. I am campaigning for a trip to London (to see the L-J's), or Australia (to see the B-D's), or Disneyland (with the S's). We'll see how successful I am.

Happy new year to all!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Search Words

There is a function on blogger that will show you how people get to your blog. Basically, you can either get directly here by typing in the web address or going to your bookmark; clicking on our blog from another blog that lists it; or by typing in some kind of search term into google. The blogger function will list what people have typed into google that brought them here. These are my current favorites:

"swimming in their clothes kids"

"bay and toddler room"

"costco slipcover 2003"

"smashed face"


"buzz lightyear's penis"

"buzz lightyear's dick"

"the blondes and the brunettes"

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Louis: Ten Months Old

So, here we are again. Ten months old. These past few weeks Louis has become a whole new baby. He is a crawling dynamo, pulls up on anything and everything, cruises around, and basically wreaks havoc wherever he goes. BVZ announced the other day that we have officially entered the stage of "24 hour suicide watch." I forget how quickly they learn stuff at this age. All in the same day he figured out how to climb stairs, wave, and say "bye" (which we are officially counting as his first word, I think).

He's a string bean baby, weighing only about 19 lbs right now. He's very long. Long fingers, long toes, lots of hair, four teeth. He's wearing mostly 12 month clothes, but the pants are already getting too short. Eating has improved exponentially since the crawling bonanza began and he is now sleeping 12 hours straight in his crib at night. Still takes two good naps. He sleeps on his stomach with his bum in the air. Loves the bath, especially with his sister. He kicks and splashes like Shamu. Kiki called him a one man jacuzzi tub. He is obsessed with balls and plays a pretty good game of catch. He loves being tickled. He likes books but has to be the one to turn the pages. The music table is by far the best $15 I ever spent, as he will stand there and groove until his little legs can't take it any more. If you sit on the floor, open your arms and say, "I need a hug and kiss" he will come and give you one. It's awesome.

His bottle days are numbered (we will drop them as close to a year as possible), but he digs the straw cup so I am not too worried about him. He loves all carbs, most fruits, and almost no vegetables. He would eat a tortilla at every meal if I let him. He loves to drink water and acts like it is the best treat of all times when I give it to him with meals (keep thinking that, kid). He will eat most things he can pick up himself and every once in a while will let me sneak a bite in him. I think pasta is probably his favorite with waffles a close second. I can tell he is actually digesting said food as his poop if finally flushable (too much information, M? :)

His hair is starting to curl up in the back so I am very curious if it will go the same route that Norah's did. I hope so. He is starting to get a temper if something doesn't go his way. Diaper changes are a nightmare. I basically have to pin him with one of my knees to get him to stay down long enough to get him in a diaper. Last night he managed to pull of the tabs and at 2:00 am he wanted out of his pee soaked pajamas. Changing a crib sheet at 2:00 because it's soaked in pee is no fun. No fun at all.

He is so good natured and fun. He loves Reid, and head butts him every chance he gets. Loves Norah, she can do no wrong. Is saying Dada, Mama, and Baba, but not necessarily in the correct context, so I am not counting those just yet. He has incredibly sensitive eyes like me and is bothered by the sun and camera flashes. 95% of pictures of him look like this:

He's my dream come true.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Weekend

I took almost no pictures this weekend. I hope someone else did a better job because there were a lot of cute and fun things that happened. I guess I was too busy enjoying myself. And I may have had a lot of wine.

Christmas Eve was chili and tamales at our house.

Amy got the boys these ridiculous Santa outfits. They totally loved them. The day before, Reid wore his during cookie baking and had an off-white thermal onesie under the jacket. He ate lunch and so the jacket came off and the belly came out. We called him Bad Santa for the rest of the afternoon.

Megan was a superstar and rode Louis around on the plasma car for the better part of the afternoon.

Then she pushed him around on his car. We love Megan.

Several weeks ago I decided to let Norah pick out matching pajamas for her and Lou to wear on Christmas Eve. She picked ones with two reindeer on the front--one with a green scarf (Lou) and one with a pink scarf (Norah).

Santa got cookies and milk and the reindeer got carrots. Megan and Trevor introduced Norah to the practice of throwing oatmeal and glitter on the front lawn for the reindeer as well. It was pouring rain when we tried to do the throwing. I hope the reindeer appreciated it.

Santa brought a train table. I hurt my back picking up Louis earlier in the day and so I wasn't much of an assistant. I think Santa appreciated the fact that I had to sit on the couch rather than supervise the assembly. It was a late night, but Santa's marriage is still intact, so I suppose it was a win-win.

They absolutely loved it. Norah has pretty much played with it non-stop. She took her new Sleeping Beauty figurines and worked them into her train story lines. I think most involved Malificent's train carrying Prince Phillip to jail. Louis became Lou-Zilla and pulls up and crashes down. I have reassembled the tracks multiple times already.

We spent Christmas day at Bubby's house. The boys wore matching vests.

Kiki made a homemade cheeseball. It might have been the best thing I have ever put in my mouth. Thankfully we ran out of crackers early on or I might have eaten the entire thing. And then had a tomato-basil cheese baby.

Bubby busted out the good china.

It was a great holiday. We loved not having to travel. It was so great to spend the day with everyone and then sleep in our own beds. Norah was SO into Christmas this year. She made up the best song that she's been singing for a week. The lyrics basically consist of some variation of "I love Christmas even though it's not all about me, it's about giving to other people, it's a little bit about me but not all about me." The kids (and BVZ and I) were totally spoiled by both sides of the family. I took Norah to the Dollar Store last week and she picked out a gift for all the aunts, uncles, cousins, and Bubby. She got BVZ a bank in the shape of a baseball because "dad loves baseball, especially the Giants."

Nothing quite compares to Christmas with a three-year-old. It's pretty much perfect.

The Torta/Cupcake Showdown

Today we held our fourth annual cooking competition. Due to the gluttony of two years ago, we decided to mix it up a little. Instead of everyone doing their own course we drew names and created teams of two. To make it even more interesting, we then had the teams pick out of a hat the course they would cook. And as if that was not interesting enough, we then wrote down ten or eleven random ingredients, put those into a hat and each team picked their "secret" ingredient (I had done a similar theme with my cooking club a ways back and it was a big hit).

The kids were really into it this year and wanted to be in on the action. They decided to do drinks and came up with a concoction of ginger ale and cranberry/grape juice, with an orange juice ice cube. Megan came up with the idea of making a sugar rim. Stephanie wondered where she thought of that. Mind you this is the woman who orders strawberry margaritas.

First up was Amy and Kiki who had the appetizer course and the ingredient cream cheese. They made an eight layer Sun-Dried Tomato and Pesto Torta* with alternating layers of homemade pesto, sundried tomato/cream cheese, and creamed butter/cream cheese. It was topped with toasted pine nuts and fresh basil.

They served it spread over toasted french bread. It was pretty much incredible. It wasn't nearly as heavy or dense as you would have expected from all of the dairy. I would love to use it in a panini or Kiki suggested folding the mixture into pasta. Yes, please.

Stephanie and BVZ had the main dish and cinnamon and Bubby and Andy had the side dish and cilantro. Steph and BVZ did a pork loin in the slow cooker with a marinade of garlic, soy sauce, brown sugar, cinnamon, honey, and maybe a few other things I am forgetting. I don't particularly love pork loin, but this was very tender and very good. Bubby and Andy did a pair of sides. First was a roasted potato with a garlic, lime, and cilantro rub. The other was a carrot, cilantro, and jalapeno slaw. Both were excellent. They set off the fire alarm during the cooking of the potatoes (BVZ called for a point reduction on account of the smoke).

Mark and I paired up for dessert and our secret ingredient was beer. We used this recipe for Irish Car Bomb cupcakes, with a few minor modifications. Instead of using Guinness, Mark opted for a microbrewed coffee porter. I had my doubts (and was pissed at first he didn't get Guinness), but it ended up being a great substitution. We also added an additional tablespoon of whiskey to the ganache and made the frosting Bailey-licious. It was basically a total drunk cupcake (don't worry, no kids ate one).

I am bummed I forgot to get a close-up of a cupcake.

Like in previous years, the voting was done by secret ballot. Your favorite gets three points, your second favorite two points, your third favorite one point. This year we instituted the rule that you couldn't vote for yourself. Because of that each person had to decide between the other three dishes. It was close and the torta won by ONE POINT. Mark and I realized we were idiots because we both gave the torta three points, whereas we should have chosen the pork, which was good but had no chance of winning (really guys, it was good).

The victors with the winning crown.

I am already thinking of ideas for next year.

*Kiki pronounced her dish tort-A, and I made fun of her because as everyone knows, the word is torte and it is pronounced "tort." She claimed there was a difference between a torta and a torte and I scoffed. We bet $5 and I just looked it up. A torte, of course, is a layered cake. Whereas a torta is really just a sandwich. With layers I suppose. I still think it could go either way, but since there is actually a word torta, I guess she wins. Nerds.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

New Lou

Something finally connected in Louis' brain the day after he turned 9 months old and he went from sweet, cuddly, trying to crawl baby to I WILL CRAWL EVERYWHERE AND PULL UP ON EVERYTHING YOU CAN'T STOP ME I AM GOING TO EAT THAT CAT INCREDIBLE HULK BABY. Don't get me wrong, I like this baby too, we just weren't quite prepared for him. Turn your back to heat up some peas for less than 10 seconds and he is in the bathroom, unrolling the toilet paper. And trying to climb in the bathtub.

He refuses to eat anything I try and give him on a spoon. He will knock said spoon out of your hand, grab the bowl, and give himself a yogurt and oatmeal facial. Like his haircut? I made the mistake of letting Amy "trim" the front of his hair that was constantly hanging in his eyes. He looks like Mo from the Three Stooges.

He would spend up to eight hours in this tunnel chasing the cat if we let him. Maybe sometimes we do.

He is pulling up to a standing position on anything and everything. Norah's Beauty and the Beast figurines have met their match.

Unfortunately, he's also been really sick lately. Norah brings home a LOT of pre-school cooties. She has had a cold for about six weeks now, which of course means, so has Louis. Mid-November it settled in his ears and we dealt with his first ear infection. Not fun. Less than a month later SINCE HE STILL HAD A DAMN COLD, he got another double ear infection. This time he was put on a different, more potent antibiotic that turned his poop beet red and made him puke.

He has woken up inconsolably screaming in the middle of the night for, oh I don't know, the past two weeks? He currently has a raspy smoker's cough and more snot than one baby should ever have. Thursday he pretty much stopped eating and drinking. Friday at 5:00 pm, just as the pediatrician's office closed, he spiked a 103 fever and cried non-stop for over an hour (so very out of character). To urgent care we went where it was discovered he not only STILL had a raging ear infection, but a virus that had caused him to get two nasty ulcers on the back of his throat. Fabulous.*

We have spent a lot of time lately looking like this:

Thankfully, he has still felt up to making out with himself in the mirror at the doctor's office.

And has enjoyed the pass he's been getting to sleep in our bed.

I think we've finally turned a corner this weekend and are on the road to recovery. Until Norah gets home from school tomorrow, I am sure.

*At one of our many pediatrician visits I bemoaned that perhaps Lou has been hit with the sick bug so much because he lacked the antibodies he should have gotten from breastfeeding. (Don't get me wrong, I don't feel guilty about it. I did what I could do and when it didn't work, we moved on. I just feel bad that he's so sick, so often). Alternatively, my breastfed kid has only been sick a handful of times and has had one ear infection in three-and-a-half years. His doctor doesn't think it would have made a profound difference because she says that generally, pre-school cooties make short work of breastfeeding antibodies every time. Not sure that makes me feel entirely better, but at least she tried.

Christmas Spirit

Norah has some serious Christmas spirit these days. Which is remarkable given the fact that she has a mother who (on December 18) has yet to put any treats in her advent gingerbread house (not pictured). Maybe next year?

We have an Elf on the Shelf, which she is really into. First thing she does upon waking up in the morning is look for him. The other day I heard her get out of bed and yell, "hold on Elf, I am coming, I just have to pee first!"

We baked cookies for the neighbors and Norah was in charge of the decorating. I didn't tell her this, but none of the cookies actually went to the neighbors. There is just something incredibly unappetizing about a holiday cookie decorated by a three-year-old. I think I am going to make a new batch while she is at school tomorrow and then we will deliver them together. She will be none the wiser, I hope. (You can see the aforementioned gingerbread advent house in this picture. It is so cute. All the doors and windows have the numbered days and are perfect little spots for a treat. My bad).

We finally got a Christmas tree last weekend. We went to two independent lots that were cleaned out of trees completely (one had a lady putting discarded branches into the chipper). I was very surprised, given the fact that it was TWO weeks before Christmas. We ended up having to go to Home Depot which I wasn't thrilled about, but whatever.

Apparently Norah was under the impression we were going to actually get to chop down our own tree (I blame the Curious George book for this one).

She was consoled by the fact that she got to put the star on top.

The spirit of giving, not only to friends and family, but to our greater community, is something we've worked hard to instill in Norah. We do Toys for Tots every year and she likes taking the gifts to the firemen. This year we adopted a family in crisis from a local domestic violence shelter. These families (typically moms and their kids) are in transitional housing and most need basic household items to restart their lives. We got matched with a family that consisted of a mom and her two kids: a five-year-old boy and seven-year-old girl. I debated how to explain to Norah what had happened to them-I want her to know how and why people need help sometimes, but I didn't want to scare her. She asked where the dad was and I told her that they couldn't live with him anymore because he was in jail for hurting someone and they had to live in a new place. She was sad for them but had a LOT of questions about jail (more about that sometime later).

We were given their names and a list of their needs. With Norah's help we were able to find a comforter set for each of them, along with several other things on their wish list. Norah was enamored with the idea of finding the perfect thing for each of them, which was super cute. For example, we were at Kohl's and walked by a display of necklaces in which the charm was an initial. She wanted very much to get one for the mom to make her "feel beautiful." (How could I say no to that?)

The little girl had asked for a Tinkerbell comforter and a few other things Tinkerbell related that we had found for her. Norah wanted to buy her everything and anything Tinkerbell related that she saw at Kohl's (there was a lot), and I had to tell her that we had what we needed and we couldn't get everything, even if we wanted to. We were in line to check out and there was a display of nightlights, including a Tinkerbell one. Norah immediately grabbed it and said we had to get it. I told her we had everything we needed. Her eyes filled with tears and her lip started to tremble. I saw a lady giving me the side-eye, like she just knew my kid was going to throw a fit because SHE wanted something. What an asshole. Anyway, Norah said something to the effect of we HAD to get the nightlight for Gabriella because she lives in a new place now and is probably scared at night and this will help her feel so much better. Please, please, please.

Holy shit. How awesome is this kid? She totally gets it. I was so proud of her. Of course, she continued to have her moments all this week when she was worried Louis might, god forbid, be getting more Christmas presents than her, but I will take what I can get. I still think she's pretty great.

We took the gifts to the community resource center for the shelter after school one day and she insisted upon carrying the bags for Gabriella. She was disappointed we didn't actually get to meet her but seemed really happy to help someone else and grateful that her dad isn't in jail (although, really. The kid is obsessed with jail. Again, more on that later).

Reid Turns One, So We Make Cake

Sweet baby Reid turned one on December 7. Amy decided to have a dinosaur themed party and I offered to make cakes. I also volunteered Stephanie to assist me in making cakes. I have lofty ideas and Stephanie has excellent execution. Now, I consider myself a good cook but an eh, baker. I don't necessarily love the structure that baking requires (you know, all of that measuring). I would like to say it is because I enjoy the creative process of freestyle cooking so much more, but the real truth is just that I am just pretty lazy. And if I measure something it is required that I 1) pay attention, and 2) do more dishes. Thankfully, Stephanie is as OCD as I am lethargic and so we made a good team.

There were three cakes to be made. First, a full fat, full sugar dino-licious main cake. Second, low sugar, somewhat healthy cupcakes for the kids. And finally, a vegan cake for the birthday boy (Reid is both ovo and lacto intolerant). The party was last Saturday, so on Friday I met up with Stephanie at her house because she has more baking accessories than a full service bakery. I now refer to her as Cake Boss.

We started at 3:00 pm. I made the batter for the cupcakes and the vegan cake while Stephanie cut out fondant for the dinosaur. She looked away and checked her blood pressure as I eyeballed the amount of vanilla I used and poured straight from the bottle.

These are the same cupcakes I made for Norah's first birthday (and have made many times since) and are an awesome alternative for a kid's party. The recipe can be found here (it's the apple swirl cake). I don't put extra sugar on the apples, just cinnamon, and I reduce the overall amount of sugar to just a cup and a half. For cupcakes you just fill the cup up halfway with batter, add a layer of the cinnamon apples, and then cover with more batter. The cupcake itself is very dense, almost like a coffee cake, so you can fill it all the way to the top without fear that it will spill over in the oven. The icing is just cream cheese, vanilla, and just enough powdered sugar to give it a frostable consistency.
Reid's cake was a simple vegan vanilla cake recipe that I found online. Obviously no eggs and uses soy butter (I used Earth Balance). The frosting was vegan vanilla and it is garnished with the slightest hint of oreo cookie crumble (likely not vegan, but Amy gave the okay). Norah generously lent her dinosaur to be the topper.

Once that was done we could turn our attention to the main event. I made a very dense vanilla cake that was baked in two 9-inch round pans. Stephanie made a huge batch of Grandma Mary's buttercream frosting. I may or may not now have diabetes from eating a good majority of it out of the bowl.

The first round was cut in half and then pasted together with frosting.

We cut the rest of the cake using an online template (but Steph freestyled the actual cutting because we couldn't get it to print using the correct sizing), and assembled the dinosaur body.

He held together well with the exception of his head (too heavy), and so we rigged up a support mechanism for the head and neck. That basically consisted of impaling him with kabob skewers.

He was then frosted with a layer of green frosting and we worried that he looked like a sad crocodile. I left at this point (about 6:00 pm) to feed and put my kids to bed and Steph cleaned up most of the disaster I had made of her kitchen to that point.

I came back at about 8:15 once BVZ got home and Steph had started the piping. Oh the piping. It was a delicate balancing act because there were so many angles to the cake that the frosting started to slide off. Steph would pipe for about 15 minutes and then have to return the cake to the fridge so that the frosting wouldn't melt off. I started to pipe too and it sucked. I don't have the patience to pipe. I got carpal tunnel syndrome within the first 5 minutes. I decided my job would be to drink wine and entertain Steph while she worked but she disagreed. We piped that mother f'er for the next 3 hours. Andy had to go buy wine and then said something to the effect of, "I don't understand why this is taking so long, it doesn't look that hard." We made him pipe. He quickly realized how hard it was. I ate more frosting. By midnight both Andy and I were saying things to the effect of, "just put frosting anywhere you see a goddamn hole." Thankfully Steph was much more level headed.

Fondant scales were added, as were m&m eyes and toenails. He looked so cute.

I got home about 1:00 am but couldn't fall asleep for hours. I had eaten probably the equivalent of 17 cups of frosting.

In the morning, Steph took dino over to Amy's house and set him up with a fan (we were paranoid about the melting/sliding, which thankfully didn't happen), and an oreo cookie dirt nest. He looked fabulous.

Cupcake display.

Birthday boy smash cake.

It was a smashing success and I would estimate Reid ate at least 75% of his cake (see Norah trying to get in on the action?)

Amy did a bang up job with the party. Reid is one lucky kid. Every detail was amazingly fabulous (she MADE a freaking pinata!) and everyone had a really, really good time. I can't wait for Louis' birthday now. Oh Stephanie....I have ideeeeeaaaasssss...........