Bringing Up Baby...

Everyone kept warning me that I was on the cusp of entering a time in my life when all of my vacation time and disposable income would be spent going to weddings, and I didn't believe them. My group of friends, so it seemed, didn't seem to be in any rush to make it to the altar. Suddenly, however, I heard that three of my friends had gotten engaged within a span of four months, and we received news of a family wedding as well. It's official -- I'm in my mid-to-late 20s.

After the wave of weddings passes, it will only be a matter of time until the next round starts: baby showers. If you think about it, it's unfair how much disparity there is between the money men have to spend on celebrating their friend's life choices, and how much women spend.  Men throw bachelor parties and have to rent a tux to be a groomsman, but tuxedo rentals can't possibly compare to the expense of buying a hideous dress that will only be worn once, matching shoes, and a coif and makeup scheme to please the bride on the day of the actual ceremony. Women are also on the hook for wedding and baby shower gifts -- events that are more or less the exclusive domain of the female sex.

All complaining aside, I was actually very pleased to be able to co-host a baby shower today for my work colleague, McNulty (she goes by her last name.) She and her husband had tried to conceive for a long time, before turning to IVF treatments. Their first attempt with the IVF was successful in October of last year, and she's due to deliver a baby girl next month. If anyone deserves to have a big fuss made over her impending delivery, it's her.

I had to loan them some aprons to keep the icing off their work clothes.

My coworkers Jess and Erin partnered up with me to throw a shower for McNulty. We opted to hold it at my parents' condo, my former residence, as it was the most mutually convenient location for the various invitees, with the most plentiful parking opportunities. A Muppets theme seemed like the way to go, both because McNulty is a fan, and I could tap Mom's extensive collection of Muppets paraphernalia for use as decor. We also decided to make the event an after-work potluck, for the ease and convenience of everyone involved.

Jess, Erin, and I worked during the week to decorate cookies for the event. McNulty had expressed her preference for no pastel colors on multiple occasions, so we opted for an unconventional palette of green, purple, and white, which tied into the bright, multicolored Muppets theme. Though it was hard for me to give up control when it came to the cookie decorating (my perfectionism dies hard when it comes to baking), we had a great time working on the project together.

I also contributed a fruit salad, and the now-famous guacamole that is somehow becoming my signature dish this summer. I'm a little bewildered as to how I've managed to become so skilled at making a dish I can't stand to eat, but at least it seems to make people happy, which is all that matters. Erin brought the chips to go with it, along with some extra salsa, and Jess made one of those crazy punch concoctions that involve soda, sherbet, and flavored ice cubes that one generally only finds at events like baby and wedding showers.

The remainder of our office clique showed up to celebrate McNulty's new addition, along with one of her former coworkers. It was a small, intimate gathering, focused mostly on eating, gabbing, and opening gifts, though we did complete a crossword puzzle that Erin had made containing trivia about the mother and father-to be. (McNulty has an aversion to the traditional games played at baby showers that range from the humiliating, i.e. guess the circumference of pregnant woman's belly, to the disgusting, i.e. identify the melted candy bar that's been placed in a baby diaper. Frankly, who can blame her?)

McNulty and her husband Dan, opening a Spiderman dish set -- Dan is a huge fan.
Together, we had a lovely evening. I wouldn't say I'm eager for another one of my friends to turn up pregnant so I can have the chance to host another baby shower, but I was happy to celebrate this occasion. I do enjoy the occasional opportunity for entertaining, and I'm glad that tonight's affair turned out so well.

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