I’m going to tell you a sad story. It’s called, “The Time I Tried to Make a Cheesecake for a Party.”
And, yes, there is a bit of foreshadowing in that title, isn’t there?
Last week, we found out two of our dear, dear friends were moving to Texas. To send them off in style, a group of us decided to put together a little Western-themed going-away party. Everyone chipped in or offered to bring a certain dish or drink for the party.
I offered to bring a cheesecake because it is one of our friend’s favorite dessert.
Nice enough, right? Sound simple, doesn’t it?
But, as you already know, this is a sad story. And sad stories are rarely nice and simple.
Anyone who has ever made a cheesecake before knows that it’s at least a 2-day process if you’re making the real deal. (Your no-bake Jell-o versions need not apply here.) So, the day before the party, I rounded up the ingredients for a Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake with white chocolate chips (roughly $40 of ingredients because baking is expensive, yo) and got to work after dinner.
It’s also relevant for you to know that my husband’s pal Gregg was over for dinner, and he and Joey watched this whole thing go down.
After dinner, the boys sat around drinking scotch and bonding (I assume) while I went to work in the kitchen. I made my own crust from gluten-free ginger cookies to appease the guests with diet restrictions. I whipped the cream cheese and sour cream and sugar and white chocolate into a fluffy, pillow-y mass. I gently swirled the raspberry jam, thinking fondly of the fresh raspberries I had also purchased to adorn the cake the next day.
When everything had been lovingly combined and assembled, I arranged the springform-bound confection in a water bath and put it in the oven.
It takes almost two hours to bake a cheesecake, so the boys had a great deal of fun asking me at 20-minute intervals if they could eat it yet. Ah…what fun we had…before the incident.
I always get nervous at this stage of cheesecake making because it’s so difficult to tell if it’s truly done. The center should still be a bit wiggly when you take the cake out of the oven because it sets up in the fridge overnight. If you over-bake a cheesecake, it gets a dry, almost powdery consistency that still usually tastes okay but is not as pleasing.
I was even more nervous because my little, old oven is not exactly the most reliable appliance.
But despite my trepidation, I finally got the cake to the correct consistency and set it on the stove to cool for an hour before it was to be refrigerated.
By this time, it was after eleven, and this old lady was quite tired to be up past her bedtime. But after washing all the dishes (because what’s the point of a perfectly prepared dessert if your kitchen is a disaster?) I watched TV with the guys and we chatted amicably about how to make cheesecake (and, no, they still couldn’t eat it).
Around 11:45, I had to call it a night, so I went to put the cheesecake in the fridge.
When I tell this story in person, this is around the time when people start biting their lip or preemptively putting their hands over their mouths in anxiety.
I don’t really have an excuse for what happened next. I mean, I was tired. The cake was kind of heavy. I had it on top of another pan so the butter wouldn’t drip onto the floor. I was holding it with one hand and opening the fridge door with the other.
But really, the excuses don’t matter. What matters is that one second I was opening the fridge door to put the cake in, and the next I was watching it, in slow motion, slide off the tray, nail a 180-degree flip, and then splatter all over the kitchen floor. The springform pan, free of it’s creamy contents, did one of those slow, spin-rattles to a stop.
No one in the apartment breathed for a second. (Well, Bogey did. He was already lunging for the mess.)
A number of thoughts courses through my brain in those seconds.
“That did not just happen.”
“I didn’t even have a chance to clean the floor yet this week.”
“$40 of ingredients.”
“This is why I don’t bake.”
And an assortment of words not becoming of a lady.
I let out a long, slow breath, and started to clean up the mess. Joey tentatively approached me from behind. You know, the way you do a wild animal that might kill you.
“Oh babe…what happened?” he asked.
“I do not want to talk about what just happened,” I seethed through clenched teeth.
“Ok,” he replied quickly. “Do you want me to get the Wet Jet or-”
“I want you to stand there and not say anything.”
“I can do that.”
(Even in the moment, I have to give it up to Joey for just NOT trying to fix it in that moment. I was mad at everything, and he knew getting involved was a surefire way to make me mad at him, too.)
For the record, I didn’t cry then. I didn’t cry while I scooped the (still searing hot) cheesecake back into the pan with my fingers and a large spoon. I didn’t cry while I sponged up the creamy bits the spoon couldn’t get. I didn’t cry while I mopped up the sticky remnants. I took a few shuddery breaths while I washed my hands and face, but I did not cry.
I told the guys I was going to bed. They quickly said, “Ok!” and gave me their best sympathetic glances.
I went to my bedroom and shut the door. And then? Then homegirl sobbed.
To be fair, I probably would have cried even if I wasn’t dealing with Hulk-level hormones lately, but I’m sure it didn’t help.
I heard the guys whispering furtively in the living room for a few minutes. Then a little while later, Gregg went home. Joey came into the bedroom and wrapped me in a bear hug.
“I just want you to know, Gregg and I both think you handled that better than we would have. We agreed that we definitely would have been throwing things.”
“I…don’t…want…to…talk about it,” I heaved through my sobs.
We both went to bed. And the next day, Joey bought a cheesecake for the party. (I wanted nothing to do about it.)
I can laugh about it now, obviously. (Though the next morning, I still wasn’t able to tell the story without getting glossy eyes.) But I just felt like sharing the story on here was the best way to purge it from my system.
So now, I want to hear your sad stories. Share your experiences of baking loves lost in the comments below. And we’ll all bond over wasted ingredients and sticky floors together.
Did you do a double-take at this post’s headline? Not going to lie: The fact that my pregnancy is almost two-thirds of the way over is mind-boggling even to me. (Technically the second trimester doesn’t end until the 27th week. The more you know.)(Insert shooting star.)
The first trimester seemed to crawl by, mostly because we wanted to keep things quiet until it had passed. The second trimester is going much quicker, but I still feel like the months crawl by sometimes. Now that I’m starting to feel a bit less comfortable (thanks to that soccer ball-sized uterus I’ve got now), I’m wondering if the last 16 weeks will seem to pass more slowly.
Anywho, I thought it could be nice to update any of you who are wondering how this whole “growing a human thing is going.” Here are answers to some of the most common questions I’ve been getting lately:
How do you feel?
Pretty good! I’m definitely feeling heavier and rounder, and I’m pretty dang tired by the time I get home from work (I have to walk about three miles a day as part of my commute, so I’m sure that has something to do with it), but overall I can’t complain too much.
How’s the belly?
It’s definitely growing! I have a wide ribcage, so up until the last couple of weeks I felt like I was filling out more than forward, but now we have officially entered baby bump territory. I feel like my stomach has stretched as much as I could have puffed it out naturally before (what, you never puffed out your stomach to see what you would look like pregnant?), and now we are at the point where things will start to stretch. Still keeping the hope alive that I won’t get stretch marks, but we shall see. I feel like the next month is going to bring a big ol’ belly with it, so stay tuned.
Any weird cravings?
Nothing too crazy, but I think I could eat frozen yogurt or ice cream every day. And today I was walking to work and thought about fried pickles and then thought, “YES.” So basically I’m a roly-poly cliche.
Any weird pregnancy symptoms?
HA! The whole thing is weird, folks. The things I’ve experienced run the gamut from: super thick hair, excess saliva (seriously), gas (yup, this is real life), dry skin, increase in hunger (though I get full after a few bites because my stomach doesn’t have as much room to expand), dry eyes and blurrier vision, forgetfulness, an increased interest in nesting, and crying over nothing. Plus, probably others that I can’t remember. (PREGNANCY BRAIN IS REAL NO MATTER WHAT SCIENCE SAYS.)
Does she kick a lot?
Yes! I get a handful of little kicks throughout the day, but between 9 and 10 pm she really tends to let loose. Joey and I love feeling (and SEEING) her kicking — it’s one of the weirdest/coolest things I can imagine. Fortunately, the kicks aren’t uncomfortable for me (at least yet), so it’s still one of my favorite feelings.
Do you have a name picked out?
Yes! We’re planning to go with Vivian, though we’ll probably call her Vivi while she’s a baby.
How’s your health?
(Okay, this question mostly comes from my parents.) Good! Vivi and I have passed all our screenings and tests so far with flying colors. I’ve been doing my best to keep up with working out regularly, partially because being stronger and healthier tends to make labor go smoother, partially because I’m vain and am hoping to get back in shape quickly after Vivi is born. Plus, the activity has a lot of positive benefits on my mental health and balancing out my (at times wonky) hormones. I miss being able to go all out in a tough spin class or boot camp, but even my modified workouts make me feel more like myself as my tummy continues to grow. So far I’m still able to run (usually between 3-4 miles), cycle, and go to pilates and barre classes. Though tying my shoes is getting to be more of a challenge…
I think that’s everything! I’m pretty much an open book when it comes to pregnancy, so if you have any other questions, feel free to post a comment below.
Are y’all okay if I spew a little mush on the blog today?
Seriously…just a bit? A tiny bit?
Oh wait. This is my blog. I DO WHAT I WANT.
About a month ago, Joey and I decided that not only did we want to take a “babymoon” before our little lady’s imminent arrival, we needed to.
Think about it: A baby is forever. After she’s born, it will never be just the two of us again. Sure, one day she’ll grow up and move out and get a job and her own life and whatever. But really, it will never, ever be the same as it has been for the last four years.
So, even though we are in super-saver mode these days, we ponied up the cash for two tickets to my grandparents’ condo in Florida. Of course, we weren’t being totally reckless. Staying at my grandparents’ place is significantly cheaper than booking a hotel or an all-inclusive resort (the dream), and we would have our own kitchen, meaning we could save on at least a dinner or two and all of our breakfasts and most lunches. And while we would have loved to take a 10-day trip, we opted to extend our Memorial Day weekend an extra day to preserve my precious few vacation days.
Though I will admit that I sprung for the slightly more expensive plane tickets that would give us direct flights to the most convenient airports in both locations. Because what’s the point of taking a relaxing vacation if the trip home is going to get you just as rattled as you were before?
The result of our plans? I don’t want to overstate this, but the trip was, in a word, perfect.
I’m always a little irked by those people who put #blessed in their Instagram captions because, to me, it seems like a fairly overt humblebrag. But after that trip with my husband, I have a hard time describing my feelings any other way. I’m so humbled by the way my husband loves me. I’m so grateful that we have the opportunity and the means to get away from regular life now and then to reconnect. I’m filled with awe by this tiny life growing inside me.
God is so, so good to us, and I hope I can hold onto these feelings even when things aren’t going so smoothly. Because while I don’t feel #blessed, I do feel blessed to live the life I do with the people I love.
So now it’s back to “real” life, with jobs and bills and schedules that don’t include things like “morning swim in the pool” and “leisurely lunch by the ocean whenever we feel like walking to the restaurant”. But you know what? The trips to the beach may be over and my tan has probably already begun to fade, but I think this fullness in my heart will last a while longer.
You know how you never feel like you have enough time to yourself? Like there are a million things you could get done, if only you had a solid hour or two to just focus and tackle them?
The problem is that this time only really comes around at the most inopportune times. Like when you’re trying to get to work and your train is delayed by s track fire. For over an hour.
Oh, did I not mention my current situation? Because that’s it.
And of course the irony is that I can do pretty much nothing during this time. I’m caught up online. I answer work emails when they come in. And I blog.
But you know what I would really like to use this time for?
But, alas. This is our life, right?
Here’s hoping we start moving soon.
You know what is fun about knowing whether you’re having a girl or a boy? EVERYTHING.
Not surprisingly, one of the things I was most looking forward to about being pregnant was planning our baby’s nursery. I’ve been pinning nursery ideas for months, and now I can finally start making some decisions.
It took me all of 48 hours to make said decisions. I SAID I HAVE BEEN THINKING ABOUT IT, OKAY?
Here is what I have culled together from a few of my favorite pins:
I want the room to feel girly without being too princess-y, so I’m working with a color palette of pink, mint, and loads of neutrals. I’d like to paint the room a very, very pale shade of pink (currently thinking Benjamin Moore’s Hint of Pink):
Then I would really like to add a statement wall behind the crib of peachy pink peonies. I’m a little nervous about my ability to actually pull off said wall, but Joey and my mom are both pretty artistic, so maybe I can sweet talk them into helping me.
I’ve had a white crib picked out for a while now, but I want to balance out the femininity with a mid-century modern-style wood dresser and this ADORABLE (but yeesh-is-it-expensive) mint glider. A fluffy neutral rug will also ground the girly and create a soft landing spot for baby cuddles. For bedding, I love this DIY black, pink, and white quilt (and am hoping my crafty mom can maybe whip one up), and then I’ve been looking at mint, gray, and black-and-white polka dot bedding.
The rest of the details I’m trying to keep eclectic in keeping with my decor style in the rest of the apartment. A few mint, pink, gold, black, and white prints, as well as a display bookshelf in one corner. I’m also fairly smitten with that Gummi Bear nightlight and, come on, that piggy rocker? I die.
So that’s what I’m thinking so far! When I first showed Joey a few pictures of what I was thinking, the conversation went like this:
Him: Cute! I like the bear print. But you know not everything has to be pink, right? 😉
I promise I’m trying to temper my excitement about it being a girl, babe. I’m trying.
So there you have it! You know, I think I’m really going to like this whole nesting thing.
My heart is so full after this weekend. I try to make myself pause from time to time to really take in all the good things in my life and appreciate how fortunate I am, and it’s weekends like this that make that almost too easy to do.
On Sunday, we had a little gender reveal party to find out if our bub is a boy or a girl. I wanted to keep the event small, and had originally planned to hold it in our new apartment, but ultimately had to move it to my in-laws’ backyard due to the water damage at our place. Here’s a little recap of how the party went down — plus the ultimate reveal!
And bear with me…this one has a lot of photos.
My dear friend Michelle and sister-in-law Kelly were HUGE helps to me in planning the party. Kelly helped by creating an adorable Polaroid-inspired photo booth:
Delicious red velvet cake pops for the dessert table:
And these amazing flower crowns:
Seriously, can we get a close-up of those?
These were all random ideas I had seen variations of online, and I sent them to her hoping she could create something similar. The results totally exceeded my expectations — thank you again, Kelly!
Michelle also had what you might call an important job: creating the reveal confetti poppers! I had seen a similar idea online, but purchasing the poppers pre-made would have cost me literal appendages. Knowing Michelle is pretty dang crafty, I entrusted her to putting the poppers together. And MAN OH MAN did they turn out amazing!
She also created these adorable bow and bow tie pins for everyone to wear to declare their baby guesses. She used pink and mint construction paper and outlined them with gold marker before gluing each to a clothespin.
For the rest of the refreshments, we served a chicken apple sausage pasta, burgers, and a big salad. The drinks were themed (of course); a Baby Blue Punch with Malibu and a Pink Arnold Palmer for those of us who can’t drink. (It was still pretty delish, if I do say so myself!)
But what am I boring you with party details for? Let’s get to the good stuff!
For the actual reveal, we gathered everyone around Joey and me, including my parents who FaceTime’d in on Joey’s laptop.
Then there wasn’t anything left to do but pop!
And it’s a GIRL! Even though I had suspected our confetti might be pink, it wasn’t until I actually saw it that everything became real. Joey and I can’t wait to meet our daughter in less than four months!
Thank you again to everyone who helped make this party a success — we are so happy we got to share the moment with you. And to our little girl: Honey bun, we can’t wait to meet you!