As the last group of our friends filed out of the door to begin their own bath, bottle and bed routines, Isabelle Anelies couldn't contain her excitement to have her home back. It may be hard to tell from some of these photos but she is swinging her head (key dance move), kicking her legs, and singing/shouting at the top of her lungs.
Oma and Opa stayed up late the night before Isabelle's birthday to gather trinkets from around the house, raid my ribbons, and create a very special "throne" for Miss Isabelle on her birthday. This is apparently a Dutch tradition and one we will definitely keep alive. What fun it was to wake up and to find this surprise.
I have strategically avoided becoming a baker. Cakes, cookies, icing...won't do it. Meringues, souffles, pies...forget it. Sure, I can follow recipes, but why bake something only to eat it? Well, I guess that's the point. Except for when those cookies or cupcakes sitting on your counter replace the dry, multi-grain toast for breakfast, or the salad for lunch, or the glass of water before bed. Anyhow, with other less dangerous tasks to do to prepare for the party like arranging flowers, printing pictures, and the lunch food (salmon salad carries a much lower temptation factor than cupcakes for me), I thought I'd leave it to the professionals to bake the treats for Isabelle's party.
So I arranged to have our local hotel prepare the cake for her. I was told to come early on her birthday to do the decorating, so Richard, Isabelle and I roll up to the bakery at the Ritz Carlton around 10am. Khalefa, the head baker, took me back to the kitchen, gave me a chef's hat, jacket and apron to wear, and directed me to the blank cake to start decorating. I didn't quite expect that treatment, but let's be honest - it was such fun. Oma joined later to help, and I'm glad she did! (Take my advice - when decorating a polka dot cake, start sparsely because once you commit to a polka-dot-density on one side, there is no turning back! I would have regretted my polka-dot-enthusiasm if it weren't for Sandy there to help me out.) Here are a few pictures of Isabelle's birthday cake making.
It's amazing to see pictures of your child each month throughout the first year, next to each other. Seeing it laid out like that is like one of those mornings in the early days, when you go to collect your little one from her cot and feel as though you've literally seen her grow before your eyes. There was no mind trick going on those mornings, and this little art project proved it.