Bunky Turns Five

bday 5Somehow, my baby is FIVE. It’s one of many parenting cliches that is actually true. Time flies. But that’s not the whole story. Time is different with kids.

At first, time seems to inch forward, slowly, painfully, a snail’s pace. Every day is a series of seemingly endless and mundane and totally necessary tasks: feeding, napping, changing diapers, crying (you and the baby). Some days feel so long you could swear they last way more than 24 hours. In the early days of new-baby-town, when you finally manage to crawl out of your hole, I mean home, and see other babies in the world, they seem so much bigger than your new squirmy worm. They can do so many more things than your baby. It seems that it will take ages for your baby to be that many months old, to do those sorts of big baby things. Then, in a flash, you’re the one with the bigger baby. Then, another flash, and your baby is no longer a baby to anyone but you.

baby b

Bunky’s still technically a baby here. I think.

Bunky’s 5th birthday party was, in a word, awesome. Days before the party, while I was running around like a crazy person, a close friend reminded me what a kid’s birthday should be about. I’m paraphrasing here, but here are her words of wisdom: “Kids want to be celebrated, have a little recognition, but mostly they want to run around with their friends.”

So. True. And that’s what happened at B’s birthday. Four of her girl pals from school came to our favorite carousel, some in princess attire, and they ran, jumped, danced, hoola hooped, and rode the carousel more times than I can count. They also ate some fantastic (if I may be so bold) gluten, egg, and nut free cake. But more on that in a bit.

Princess Bbday parachutefirst party picThe weather was PERFECT. No easy feat for an end of April birthday. This by far was the warmest and bluest skied day we’ve ever had. And thank goodness, since the carousel does NOT run in the rain, eeks.

bday carousel

Pure kid joy = Happy mama.

I knew from the moment Bunky had her first ride on the carousel that we were golden. The look on her face was ecstatic, so purely beautifully happy, that it took my breath away. This is the kid who cried and hid in my arms during her disastrous 2nd birthday party (our mistake, huge party for a shy kid). This is the kid who would not play at her preschool at age 3.5, who sat on a chair and cried with her doll after we dropped her off (heart-freaking-breaking). That same girl has been playing all year long. She has played and danced her way from four to five. I can’t explain how grateful I am that her birthday was so sweetly perfect for her.

B and me

Our one pic together.

Though a bumpy start for Little Guy, he perked up with bubbles, a chocolate chocolate cupcake (which he inhaled) and quality time with my dad, also known as Greedles.

LG and G bubbles

LG and G

Now for the cake. I may have mentioned I was stressing out a wee bit over the cake. Well, all for naught because it rocked! Who needs eggs, seriously?! Or gluten, or nuts?! Not us!

After the party I said to my husband, “oh no, I was so busy taking pictures of the kids I didn’t take any pictures of the food,” and he was like, um, duh, that’s a good thing. Which of course it was. But that didn’t stop me from a photo shoot the next day with this little beauty.

cupcakeAnd this pre party shot. I made the cake, my husband decorated. Good team work, I think.

bday cakeAs for all my recipe experimenting, let me just give some unsolicited advice for anyone new to egg free baking: when in doubt, use a recipe specifically written for egg free baking. I got lots of great advice from people about replacing eggs – use applesauce and baking powder, sub in a can of pumpkin, etc. But in the end I decided on buying this Ener-G egg replacer. It worked great in the Cybele Pascal’s eggless (and allergy free) recipe for Chocolate Layer Cake. Which is what you see in the above picture.

Since baking is a science, you can’t always just wing it and sub in some egg replacer for two eggs, which is what I tried with a usually successful Annalisse Roberts chocolate cake recipe. The poor cupcakes puffed up like crazy in the oven and then collapsed and become almost hollow inside. Don’t get me wrong, anything with Betty Crocker chocolate frosting (gluten, egg, and nut free!) on top tastes good – but I wanted something better for my girl’s birthday. Here’s a side by side pic of the two cupcakes. The successful Cybele version on the left, the hollow puffer on the right.

cupcake no eggs

Another great part about Cybele’s recipe is that since it’s for a layer cake, it made enough batter for 12 cupcakes and a single layer of chocolate cake. Nice.

Bunky picked out red sugar roses and we topped the kids’ cupcakes with them and offered the puffier cupcakes to adults. Everyone was welcome to enjoy cake. Let’s just say the minimal leftovers didn’t last long at home, thus the lone rose photo shoot.

IMG_2364I have to say, unlike the heavy build up to Bunky’s 4th birthday – which made sense since it was our first anniversary of B’s celiac diagnosis – this year felt lighter. My biggest concern was nailing an egg free cake. Kind of cool, since that means, in many ways, being gluten free is simply part of our lives.

Now that the party’s over, the fact that I have a five year old is starting to sink in… Crazy!

Last but not least, I want to thank all of you for supporting my birthday crisis and really, just for reading my blog. It’s pretty awesome to realize that people I’ve never met, but feel like I *know,* are rooting for my cake baking attempts and hoping for the best for my girl.

As a parting image, I’ll leave you with Bunky and one of her favorite birthday gifts. Sometimes a big girl just wants something soft to cuddle.bday duck

29 thoughts on “Bunky Turns Five

  1. I never get blog updates anymore…everything is going to spam..so frustrating! Anyways, I almost teared up reading this. I have a 19 month old and everything you wrote described EXACTLY how I feel. The first 6 months were brutal…she cried nonstop…had severe spit up and I struggled so much. But then out of nowhere time just started moving so fast. She communicates so well now, runs everywhere and is the greatest joy of my life and I’m sad at how fast she’s growing up. Exciting and sad at the same time. Wish I could freeze time. I love her at this age. Anyways, your daughter is beautiful and the cake looks heavenly. Good job!

    • Oh, Brandi, I can so relate. Bunky was colicky, which meant she pretty much screamed constantly when she wasn’t nursing (which also felt constant) or sleeping (rare). It was torturous, and honestly, I still think we’re recovering! I’m glad you’re out of the woods with your sweet girl. That age is awesome, and now I’m getting to enjoy it again with Little Guy. It’s funny, though, I’m eyeing all the new mamas I see out with their teeny babes and I’m getting totally nostalgic! Sigh. It’s hard watching them grow up.

  2. Congratulations on surviving 5 years of parenthood! I have also just reached the same milestone with my son and it’s a biggie. Sometimes you just look at them and go ‘Wow, I did that’. (other times you might look at them and go ‘Wow, did I do THAT?!?!’)
    Your daughter is gorgeous and clearly a happy healthy girl thanks to you.
    Must try your gluten free baking recipes, as mine are always a disaster!

    • Thanks Lauren! A congrats feels in order 🙂 And I laughed after reading your comment because I often think, “Wow, did I do THAT?!” Hilarious. GF can be tricky in the baking realm, but the key is a high quality flour, I think. And a bit of luck.

  3. Reading your post made me smile because I can totally identify with it. As parents we will go to great lengths to make a special day. Sometimes people tell me, I just couldn’t do that…..meaning the gluten-free, nut-free, egg-free, thing. I always think, oh yes you could – if you have to. That last picture is what it’s all about.

    • I get that quite a bit, too, the whole “oh I could NEVER do what you do” which is kind of silly because (like you said) of course they would … if they HAD to. Like we do.

      Yes, that last picture is so sweet 🙂

    • Thanks TJ! It rocked, and what a relief that it’s over. At least for another year. And man, it was HARD not to eat the last piece of cake, but I restrained myself and let Bunky eat it after school 🙂

  4. Happy Birthday to the wee one 🙂 I felt the same when my oldest turned 5. It was…where did time go? It is slipping by so fast with my 2 youngest as well 🙂

  5. Happy 5th Birthday Bunky! You are beautiful and so healthy looking! Dana, the cake and cupcakes turned out so well! Happy spring to all of you. Thank you for your uplifting and cheerful blog.

    • Thanks so much Jess! When I was looking back at pictures for the post, I came across her sick skinny pics from age 3, and they broke my heart. Happy Spring to you, too, and I’m so glad you think my blog is uplifting and cheerful! Some days I wonder if I complain and vent too much 🙂

  6. Congratulations, Dana, on having a 5 year-old. It’s a lovely age for girls, and the party looks lovely – I especially love the carousel! Thanks for the egg-free baking tips – I’ve not tried going egg free, but with the amount of childhood allergies around these days, I’m sure the day is coming.

  7. Lovely! I’m so happy that the day was amazing for both YOU and Bunky. To hear that you were feeling relaxed, and to see the smile on Bunky’s face – bliss! Just goes to show you that time sometimes does make things easier. We haven’t yet celebrated a birthday since going gluten free but I’m hoping that when we do it will go exactly as Bunky’s went.

  8. Happy, happy birthday to your beautiful little girl! And how true your line “your baby is no longer a baby to anyone but you.” So. True. And beautifully said. Glad you commented on wondering what Finding Ninee meant so that I could come here, and find you.

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