Monday, December 26, 2011

Showering Baby Awesomerod, part 1

To date there have been five (!) events in Baby Awesomerod's honor, and I thought now would be a good time to post a recap and to express our gratitude in mass electronic form to everyone once more (now that the final individual thank you notes have been written). Today I'll write about the main event, and tomorrow I'll fill you in on all the other goodness that came our way since then.

The main event was in mid-November hosted by two of my very best friends, Susannah and Lindsay. Susannah and I are friends from back in the days of seventh grade when we passed notes in the hallways between classes. Lindsay and I met on move-in day of first year of college as we were two of the 10 girls living together in our dorm suite. Both girls are classy, creative and know me well, and the shower they threw reflected how much thought and hard work they put into a truly personal event.

They decorated the house in oranges, grays and greens in honor of the nursery's color palette. The hand-sewn cardstock streamers from Etsy and the tissue-paper pom poms made pretty decorative statements.

They also said they "attempted" what they called a "quasi-book-theme" by balancing plates of food on top of stacks of board books and by decorating the pumpkin cupcakes (it was November!) with little flags containing classic children's book covers.

When guests arrived the hostesses greeted them with a piece of cardstock paper (decorated with prints from adorable baby-inspired stamps), a pen and a clothespin so they could write well wishes to Baby Awesomerod and hang their contributions to the ribbons on the wall. These became a cute team-effort decoration as well as a perfect keepsake when Susannah presented me with all the cards sealed inside an old wooden cigar box at the end of the shower. Since then I've added all the other cards we've received for Baby Awesomerod to that box, and hopefully in the next couple days (if baby stays put) I'm going to start her baby book by adding some sonogram pictures, pregnancy photos, and cards.

After everyone arrived and enjoyed great food (Lindsay is known for her mad cooking skills), Susannah got the main part of the event kicked off by having everyone in attendance go around and say her name and how she knows me. I was really happy she did this as it allowed friends from different parts of my life to mingle more easily because the gift-opening portion of the shower was quite informal (the way I like it) with standing-room-only space making it so that everyone felt free to move around the house, nibble on food, and chat with one another instead of staring at me in silence making the obligatory baby shower ohhhs and ahhs each time I opened a gift. Listening to my friends' and family members' quick introductions got me a little choked up as I looked out at my friends from high school, college, work, and general adult life; my family from Northern Virginia and Richmond; my mother-in-law's friends who attended. It reminded me of an email my friend Courtney sent me the day we found out Baby Awesomerod is a girl, and she said how lucky this baby is to grow up surrounded by so many strong women. I couldn't have said it better -- the women in my life are independent and strong and have made me who I am today, and for that I am most grateful.

On a less-sentimental note, as every woman in attendance introduced herself, she cut a piece of twine representing her estimate of the circumference of my belly. At the end of the gift-opening portion of the shower everyone tested her string theory (obligatory nerd joke, check) and most grossly overestimated my belly's size. The two who came closest were Susannah's mom and my friend Emily (who flew in from Louisville, another amazing surprise!), but Emily won by about a centimeter and received an awesome fruit tart (I believe that was the prize, but by that point in the day I was on sensory overload).

My little sister was one of the worst offenders in the overestimating category. Check out all that extra twine! I'll get you, my pretty, when it's your turn!

Of course, the gifts were the main event, and we received an incredibly generous outpouring of baby gear for our little one on the way. Many items came from our Buy Buy Baby registry (for the record, I still hate the name of that store). This was really helpful because it meant I left my mid-November shower with virtually everything we would need for our baby's first year of life. She received few items of clothing at this shower, but she has made up for it by getting a fully stocked closet from other generous friends' and family members' gifts since the initial shower.

Everyone made fun of me for how excited I was to receive a bunch of cloth diapers, but then my friend Katy, who has used cloth diapers for her two children, gave the ultimate cloth diaper demonstration (not on an actual baby). The crowd genuinely ohhhed and ahhhhhed as they got the low-down on modern cloth-diaper technology.

There are so many amazing gifts we received, and I am still amazed at how generous people are when a couple is having their first baby, but two that especially stood out were of the homemade variety. One great gift was from my high school friend Zoe who followed this post from Oh Joy! and custom-made these two freezer-paper onesies. One clearly labels our daughter as Baby Awesomerod, and the other has a little beach scene, likely paying homage to the many trips we're known to take with friends to Duck, NC.

The other amazing homemade gift, and the one that made me cry, was a collective group effort from my four best friends from high school. All made it to my shower, which was a special gift by itself as they traveled from Philadelphia, New York City and Denver for the event, but then they gave me another tiny onesie that melted my heart. It reads "11th Guy" on the front and "5 x 2 + 1 = 11" on the back. Here's the sentiment behind all the code: in high school we called ourselves Five Guys, partially in honor of the original Five Guys restaurant that wasn't far from our science and technology magnet high school (nerds!). Then we all got married between 2005 and 2009 and officially became 10 Guys. Now that I'm having the first baby of the group we'll soon be 11 Guys. The back of the onesie with the math equation is a nod to our nerdy science-and-tech roots. The onesie itself may not seem like a big deal to anyone outside our little circle, but to me it's a symbol of the ways in which our relationships have grown since we all met in 1995 and how we've grown together even though there's so much physical distance between us. These are the girls for whom you would fly across the country at a moment's notice. I know they'll be there for my daughter like they've been there for me.

And they love it how even though I may have a giant belly these days, I haven't changed my dancing habits since high school. For some reason it truly cracks them up when I dance around with a goofy expression and rub my belly. I nearly kill them.

To wrap up shower #1 (of 5! no worries, the rest will go more quickly), our gracious hosts encouraged each guest to take a little favor bag filled with kettle corn, my all-time favorite snack. The best part? Check out the handmade bags!

A final special thank you to everyone who made the day so special! It is an event that will stay with me for as long as my memory holds out :)

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