My Berry First Birthday Party

My first daughter/second child has a very special, close-knit relationship with Satan.

“Smile, GC…”

However, she was the best newborn baby of all time.  She slept like an angel, let me put fun things in her hair, and initially had a very calm disposition.

And then she turned one and all hell broke loose.

But before we were introduced to the wrath that is GC, she was our little sweetie pants, and therefore I thought she deserved a first birthday party that reflected her precious demeanor.

And, of course, the month of March in New York State makes us all want spring to happen as soon as possible, so we need a little fruity cheeriness.

Enter the Berry Party.  And here’s how you own a theme:DSC_0532.jpg

The first step in making a most wonderful, cutie party is to determine what kind of “mood” you want to create.  For this, I wanted a springy, bright party with happy colors, but I’m not a big fan of “girly” themes, so I went with reds, blues, a little pink, and white/cream.

… On second thought, the first step to any one-year-old birthday party is to accept that the party itself is not about the birthday kid – it’s about impressing everyone with how obsessive a mother can be about the look of the party, aka the theme.  And feel no shame, Ma.  It looks friggen awesome, so own it.

I would highly recommend scanning Pinterest for general theme ideas, if you haven’t already.  When you find the tiniest detail you like, grab onto it and build from there.  For instance, I saw this beautiful party service and absolutely died.  Though it’s light and fluffy and a little too feminine for what I wanted, I stole some ideas and made them work with my theme.  (Check out the scrap fabric banner and the individually wrapped sandwiches.)


My point is you should steal.

I continually scan Pinterest using various search words; for this party, I searched “berry party” and “strawberry party” and “first birthday” and “red checkered party”, etc.  Check out the background of this one; looks shockingly similar to the invitation I created, eh?


And from there I built a menu by searching all over Pinterest for berry recipes.

I made a spinach and strawberry salad with raspberry poppy seed dressing (to DIE for).

I also made blueberry pie pops – and the only picture I was able to get from my party was of an empty plate!  But good luck getting them to stand up straight; I basically just laid them on the plate.  But if you are, like I was, going for a “look”, I’d skip these buggers.  Messy and awkward.

The tiny decor details consisted of simple paper crafts, which were matted circles of various colors and stamped.  I used jute to wrap around the small jelly/mason jars, which you can find at Walmart, or a hardware store, or just about anywhere.

Gretta_s_custard        gretta__utensils


(My wonderful sister is a cake decorator.  Sorry, but I don’t sell her services… Yet, anyway.)

In my Pinterest searches, I found this adorable milk bottle idea, and I just had to do it.  But I’m cheap – not to be confused with frugal – and I am certainly not spending almost $50 on vintage milk bottles.  I found a different way: buy 2 or 3 packages of Starbucks Frappucchino (buy ’em at Target – way cheaper), drink or save the contents, then soak the bottles in warm, soapy water for an hour or so.  I used a razor blade to scrape off the glue and labels.  Some of the writing on the bottle is ink, so just scrub the shit out of it and it’ll come off after soaking.  And then voila – you have a beautiful, clear glass bottle.


So cute.  I filled each one with strawberry milk, and it tasted like elementary school.  And those paper striped straws are everywhere nowadays, so I’m not even going to post where I got them.  Okay, fine – I got them here, which is an excellent place for classy party supplies, though sometimes somewhat expensive.


These beautiful little suitcases were a birthday gift for my daughter, though I can’t remember now where they’re from.  But the key to an excellent birthday display table is layering.  You can use regular ol’ boxes and wrap them in pretty paper, or used wooden crates or serving platters – anything to vary the layers of food, desserts, and treats.  Remember, it’s all about the way it looks, because, believe me, your one-year-old doesn’t give a shit about any of it.

Finally, be sure to dress your kid in something that matches.  And be sure to take lots of pictures so’s you can show off later.

Happy Decorating!


That Time My Kid Shat In My Car

Silly you.  You probably assume this is about that time when my child wore a diaper and pooed during a long car ride, or something equally as innocent.

I assure you – nothing about this incident is innocent.

May I become Sophia Petrillo for a moment?  Picture it — Hoosick Falls.  June, 2013:

It is 6 a.m. and we hear a train downtown and a car horn going off somewhere nearby.  How annoying.  Suddenly my husband says, “I have a bad feeling that G is not in the house.”  Naturally, I scan the kids’ room and I see one child asleep.  But wait – don’t we have two children?

Yes, we do.

I check all the rooms in the house but G is nowhere to be found.  Something strikes me that perhaps I ought to check outside.  I go through our yard and I wonder why I am so compelled to check the driveway.  Why would a three-year-old be in the driveway at 6 a.m., right?  Funny you should ask…

I see a little person bopping around in my car and I go to the window.  It’s G, of course, and he looks at me with surprise, like, “Holy hell, Mommy actually found me!”  Little guy unlocks the door and immediately begins apologizing.  So he knows he’s in the wrong.

I open the door.  I want to yell at him and tell him my car is not his god damn clubhouse, but my attention is taken by the fact that he’s not wearing a shirt.  Or a diaper.  And hey, why are the contents of my glove compartment emptied onto my floor?


Perhaps G stepped in doggy poopy while on his way to my car, and now he’s stepped all over the car and it’s everywhere.  But Walter’s poop has a very different smell than people poop; I love him more than anyone ever, but I don’t feed him steak and potatoes.  That fella’s on “healthy weight” dog food.  His poop is healthier than any human in my house.

The smell of this poop is kid poop – like a horrible mixture of chicken nuggets and mac-n-cheese and fresh death.  This is my car’s new air freshener.

(Oh, and did I mention I was hung over that morning?  Bonus.)

Then it all meshes together in my brain as I note the soft-serve on the baby’s car seat, the fingerprint poop smear on the window, the chunks of crap on EVERY SEAT BUT HIS OWN, and the fact that he is sans diaper.

This kid pooped in my car.

He must have been saving it up for days, because he had enough to deposit it in four seats and on one window.  I don’t know how he’s managed it, but the poop is in very specific areas of the car, as if he’d been cognizant of each location’s significance.  For instance, a perfectly precise coil of poo landed on his sister’s seat, as well as on my arm rest and the passenger’s side.  But his car seat was immaculate.

It is difficult to think of the first question to ask in a situation such as this, so I save my questions and drag him from the car.  I immediately place the animal in the tub, consider drowning him, then turn to see my groggy husband’s wide eyes.

“Don’t even *expletive* talk to me right *expletive* now.”

It is then that this man had the audacity to grin.  I remember envisioning divorce papers falling from the sky.

My husband and his grin took care of my animal son while I assessed the damages to my car.  (I would like to note that if this had happened to my husband’s car, there’d be one less alive child in the house.)


G told me later that he didn’t know why he’d taken off his diaper and pooped in Mommy’s car, because all he really wanted to do was “get into Mommy’s car and drive to see the train that was making all that noise.”  I guess trains really rumble the bowels, or something.

I made the beast help me clean the car.  I am not sure how to explain how incredibly filthy an experience it was, but then again it’s probably the kind of thing that needs no explanation.  Let me just say that my favorite part was pulling out the quarters from the air vents, which G tried to plug up because “money fits in there.”

And then I used those quarters to buy giant deadbolts for our home’s interior doors.



Why I Play Beer Pong on Mother’s Day

Because I’m a mother and it’s my day, dammit.

Plus, my little kids are at that perfect age when fetching the pong ball covered in beer and dust bunnies is the real game.  “Can I clean off the pong balls, please?”

Yes, dear children, you may.

Readers, please be advised that the children did not drink the beer.  They did not play Beer Pong.  (For God’s sake, they’d be horrible at it.)  They were asked to help Mommy and Daddy and, with pride, they obeyed, because children need attainable goals so they can feel great about their accomplishments, and in turn, we get something out of it.  The Basics of Awesome Parenting.  Boom.

Further, the children see their parents enjoying an activity together.  They see Mommy and Daddy as they were in the Good Ol’ Days – they see an actively loving relationship of two happy people enjoying home.  They see that Mommy and Daddy are friends.

But being a mother isn’t really what Mother’s Day is about – it’s about doing whatever the hell you want to, because you’re a mother and you’ve earned it.  You were dead sober for an eternity (9 months is an eternity, as every mother knows), you were awakened several times every night while your snoring, well-rested husband obtained his beauty sleep, and then you endured the nasty years of your bratty little beasts declaring, “I want a princess picture and you’re going to give it to me!”

So have a beer.  Have twenty.  Play Beer Pong in your dining room.  You’ve earned it.  And then make those adorable little brats fetch the ball.


Awesome (Crappy) Things I Did Today

  1. I bought a soda from the vending machine with a credit card.
  2. I put extra salt on my “Lean Cuisine” at lunch.
  3. Someone at work asked me how my day was going and I completely ignored them.
  4. I told someone that my favorite child was my dog – and meant it.
  5. I swore at a fellow driver because she was being “too safe.”


It’s 1 p.m. and I think it’s been a pretty productive day so far.