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Monday, November 24, 2008

How to Throw a Paper Pregnant Party

There have always been adoption showers--baby showers thrown after the person is paper pregnant--but we have kicked off a brand new tradition (and I know because I just googled it and there are zero hits--thank you Google): the Paper Pregnant Party. The idea behind it is not to focus on the baby but the pre-adoptive mother herself. You know, give her the love and fawning that pregnant women get to enjoy for a few months once they're showing (and don't smell so strongly of vomit). Shower her with love and items to distract her during the wait.

So we did that for Lindsay this past weekend and you can see the pictures and stories below (as well as find out how to make the Tom Waits cookie).

Want to throw your own? Here's how you do it...

1. Invitation

Send out an invitation to all of her friends (perhaps grab an email list from her husband). Have it say something like this:
As everyone knows, Lindsay is now "paper pregnant" as she waits for her adoption match. Let's have a small get together to shower Lindsay with love and support as she waits. This is not a baby shower--this is a "Lindsay" shower (so please, no baby gifts).

Please bring with you a sealed letter written on nice stationary (or a card) for Lindsay to open in the future when she is en route to pick up their child. She will not read these letters until she is on the road (or in the air) so keep that in mind as you write it. I will collect these letters when you arrive and bind them together with ribbon so she can pack them in her suitcase when she gets the call.

The point of this party is to give Lindsay the same attention and fawning pregnant women get to enjoy for 9 months (okay, more like 5 months while they're showing--but damn, that was a nice time in life). If you want to bring a gift at all, please bring something for Lindsay to help with the wait.

Here is the time, date, and place.
2. Games

In addition to collecting the letters for her to read when she is en route to meet her child, we also planned a game to play at the party. Each guest wrote out something they love about Lindsay on a slip of paper when they entered the room and one person collected all of the slips and read them aloud. Lindsay had to guess who wrote each sentiment. In the end, she also got to keep all of the love notes.

3. Food

We went with a coffee-and-cake approach so we had quick breads and cookies and cake. And, of course, we had the Tom Waits cookie. Get it now? Josh and I were brainstorming names and I wanted it to have something to do with "waiting" since being paper pregnant is about being in the wait. We chose Tom Waits because Lindsay loves music and it's something we always associate with her. And since she is the recipient of the first Paper Pregnant Party, she should have a cookie named after her. I hope that if you throw your own, you make it too.

Triple chocolate chip cookies, oatmeal-apple sauce cookies, cashew-caramel cookies, and the Tom Waits cookie

4. Everything Else

Make sure you bring a camera so you can record the event for the guest of honour. We threw on some music and Lindsay opened some gifts. We even played a little Wii.


A Paper Pregnant Party.

I would like to start out by saying that I did warn Lindsay back on August 20th so if the lady isn't going to pay attention to her comment section and then watch her back for several months, she's going to end up shocked.

It was reeeeeeeeeeeeally hard not to scream out the party plans like a lunatic when I saw her this week. I'm not very good with keeping surprises and I like to mention A LOT that I have a secret, therefore ruining the effect. Josh says this is the worst thing--the gloating when I have a secret. In fact, he messed with me with the engagement and made me think I was throwing a surprise party for him when in fact, he was going to propose. As we rode up the elevator I gleefully said, "I know something that you don't know!" because I couldn't contain myself any longer and he sang back, "I don't think you doooooooooooooooo." And I was jumping up and down on the inside because I thought I had tricked him so hardcore with the surprise party. Oh well.

But we did surprise Lindsay.

She thought she was going over to a friend's apartment for a Wii tournament and she looked sort of confused when she first walked in the door and saw all of the people she was expecting on one side of the room though there were clearly people on the other.

Then she noticed that I was taking photographs of her and she put it all together and started laughing.

Because it was close to Lindsay's birthday, I also made her a Smith Island Cake because that's seriously the greatest birthday cake in the world. Plus, Josh hates washing the icing pot afterwards and I wanted to create as much work for him as possible.

After we played our Love Notes game, we all shmoozed.

I just loved this picture of Leah, Jen, and Bean.

And then Lindsay opened a few gifts which were all Pre-Adoptive Mum related--not baby stuff. Jen made her this fantastic throw blanket that we all coveted (but she's teaching us how to make them at the TOOTPU cookie exchange whether she likes it or not). She got a lot of fantastic distraction stuff such as books and wine and Vitamin Water to drink after the wine and candles and coffee.

And then we all went home and the ChickieNob accosted me for the remains of the Smith Island cake insisting that Lindsay really wanted her to have it because she looooooooooooooves her.

So that's it. Personally, I think every pre-adoptive mum should have one. In Judaism, we don't do baby stuff such as showers prior to the baby arriving. It's just superstition, but I can't seem to overcome it. This is so much better because the day is all about the mother-to-be and celebrates her. Gives her the petting and loving that pregnant women get to enjoy in small drips and drabs every time they venture out in public and give her the attention in one huge blast. But with lots of memories to hold with her through the wait.

And now, I'd like to open the next part to all of you. We took care of the letters for Lindsay to read when she is going to meet the child. We'd like you to write the letters that she'll read on her first night as a mother. It can be very empowering to know that you have a huge stack of mail to sort through all cheering you on during those first days. If you'd like to participate, email me your letter and I will print them out, place them in an envelope, and seal it for her to open on that first night. Make sure you leave your blog name and url if you have one.

Oh, and the recipe for the Tom Waits cookies so you can throw your own Paper Pregnant Party...

Tom Waits
"if you want a taste of madness, you'll have to wait in line."--Tom Waits "Heartattack and Vine"

2 sticks of butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups (scant) all-purpose flour
18 caramels (those little square old-fashioned soft caramels)
Between 1/8 and 1/4 cup of heavy cream
Cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips

In a standing mixer, cream the butter. Add the sugar and salt and beat until fluffy (3--5 minutes). You will need to scrape down the sides of the bowl from time to time. Add the flour slowly--you don't want to overwhelm the dough. Add in small amounts (perhaps in half cups) until the dough comes together. I've been using a little under 2 cups of flour.

Roll the dough into two thin logs and individually wrap each in parchment paper. Place in the freezer for an hour. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees (F). Take out the dough logs and unwrap. Cut into small discs (a little under a centimeter in thickness) and place them on a parchment covered cookie sheet. They won't spread a lot so keep them relatively close together (look at the picture below to get a sense of how closely I baked them).

Start checking after 15 minutes. I ended up going to 25 minutes on the first batch, but depending on your oven and the cookie thickness, it could be as little as 15 minutes. You are looking for the bottom to be light brown and the edges of the top to be light brown too. Allow cookies to cool complete for an hour or two.

Melt the caramels (obviously unwrap all of them) and the cream over medium low heat until completely melted and incorporated together. Drizzle caramel over the top of each cookie while they are on parchment paper. As they cool, melt the chocolate in the microwave in 30 second increments, stirring after each heating.

Place the melted chocolate in a plastic icing bag. I use a disposable one because chocolate is hard to clean well. I don't cut off a tiny hole in the bottom until the chocolate is inside. I don't use a coupler and tip--simply cut a small piece of the bottom triangle of the bag. Squeeze out chocolate over each cookie.



Julia said...

And what an awesome thing to do. You rock!

loribeth said...

Sounds like a wonderful party! -- how like you to organize something like that!

And oh my God, those cookies have me drooling!! Question: how much is a "stick" of butter? (I should know this -- my mother is American & I get passed down recipes from her American friends & relatives all the time, but it escapes me at the moment...)

Mrs. Higrens said...

@Loribeth: 1 stick of butter is 1/2 cup, or 1/4 pound. Not sure how that translates out in metric.

What a nice party!

Kristin said...

OMG those cookies look delish. And, what a fabulous way to recognize and adoptive mom. You ROCK!

Lollipop Goldstein said...

It occurred to me after posting that it looks like there were only 4 people at the party :-) I didn't post any of the other people because I didn't ask their permission. She had a bunch of people there. Though none as fair as Ms. Lindsay.

Rachel said...

This is the COOLEST idea I have ever heard!!! I love it. So, so cool. Just... so cool.

Looks like it was fun, too. :)


Kristin (kekis) said...

Such an incredible idea!!! I wish I would've thought of this when two of my friends adopted their daughters from Russia a few years ago.

And now I want cookies for breakfast.

Lori Lavender Luz said...

Thanks for including all us outliers in the party. I feel as if I was there (except my desire for Tom Waits is unquenched).

Lindsay, I'm fawning over you long distance. Happy Paper Pregnant!

Lisa said...

What a fantastic idea!!!! Letter to open on the way to bring home your child - brilliant!

LJ said...

I have to say, as the lady of honor, I had no freaking clue this was going on. And I have chatty friends. Yeah, you know I'm looking at you! So the fact that apparently half the blogosphere knew about this and I didn't is nothing short of astounding.

Mel is the best friend a girl could ask for, and I know you all know that, but she really is amazing and I love her dearly.

Mindy said...

Hey Mel, would you willing to share the recipe for those big chocolate chip cookies too. They were AMAZING!

Rachel said...

What a wonderful idea!

Anonymous said...

oh wow- this is the coolest thing ever! You guys are all so awesome & clever.
& seriously- those cookies look divine.

HereWeGoAJen said...

This is such a good idea. Mental notes have been made.

Anonymous said...

Wow! What a spectacularly awesome idea!!! I love it!

Somewhat Ordinary said...

What an amzing group of women you are up in NOVA/DC! I wish I was up there. And you are seriously making me HUNGRY!!

Anonymous said...

Brilliant idea! It didn't occur to me until after we adopted that the wait was sort of like pregnancy; and we waited 9 months - almost to the day!

I had two post-adoption showers and then found myself trying to keep track of the gifts and the thank you notes in the haze of no sleep. A fellow adoptive mom forbade me to write her a note - thank you Kim!!

Tash said...

This is an amazing, amazing idea and thought and you are a lovely person. Please copyright, because I'm off the copy and regurgitate it (avec cookies) and I'd like for you to get some royalties.

ColourYourWorld said...

You are amazing , what a fantastic idea!

christina(apronstrings) said...


Guera! said...

What a wonderful, wonderful idea!


So thoughtful... I love it!!

Io said...

This is massively awesome. Every bit.

Leah said...

What a great time! Only superceded by the great company and that outrageously amazing cake. You know I loved the cookies (as evidenced by the speed with which I shoved them down my gullet), and I'll be damned if the vultures in my house didn't eat every last one of them off the plate I brought home. Bastards!

Thank you again for organizing, I'm so happy I could be a part of it. Can't wait to celebrate even more when Lindsay's little one arrives!

Photogrl said...

This is such a great idea! I love it, and wish I had heard about it when my cousin was adopting.

I can't wait to try making the Tom Waits.

Noemi said...

I will be making those cookies! And that was a wonderful thing to do for your friend.

Jamie said...

What a wonderful, wonderful, thoughtful party! You guys are the best.

My eyes are glistening . . .

Malky B. said...

What a great idea. Looks like it was a fun party.

Brenda said...

What an amazing and thoughtful idea!

battynurse said...

That sounds like such a fantastic idea. How very cool.
And I think I'm going to have to make some of those cookies once I get all settled in somewhere as they look amazing.

Unknown said...

what a fabulous idea!

And thanks for the recipe - might just have to try those cookies!

beagle said...

Great idea . . . thanks for sharing!

Happy said...

That is AWESOME!! What a great idea!!!

Martha@A Sense of Humor is Essential said...

That is so wonderful! Great pictures and yum, yum, yum! How much do you want for the cake recipe?

AwkwardMoments said...

This is such a beautiful idea!

Kir said...

You are AMAZING!!! all of you wonderful women are just AMAZING!!!!

What a beautiful thing to do for Lindsey!!!

Coffeegrljapan said...

What an awesome idea for a party. By the way, the cookies look to-die-for!!

Anonymous said...

I'm adopting and my friends threw me a baby shower. One meaningful thing they did for me string a necklace of blessings. They passed around a string and some beads and each person took a bead and while placing it on the string they stated a blessing they wished for me and my husband. Whenever I'm having a bad day I wear the necklace and remember that I have a wonderful group of friend who care for me and are thinking of me throughout my adoption process.

millie said...

What an awesome idea for a party! Some of my friends wanted to throw me a shower but that just seemed wrong. This seems oh-so-right. You nailed it.

Ange said...

I'm not even sure how I ended up finding your blog...anyway, I'm a soon to be adoptive mom, and just had to tell you what a wonderful, thoughtful, loving thing to do for a friend! Your friend is very blessed to have you! Oh, and opening those letters is going to be awesome for her!

Anonymous said...

Lollipop.... you are surely amazing! These biscuits (sorry, cookies) look to DIE for.... !! Happy New Year- may 2009 bring ALL OF US some peace and hopefully answer all our hopes and dreams.

Valerie Reilly said...

Wow. This is not my world...but your blog, your site, your professionalism and knowledge, your passion and enthusiam, your baking and's all amazing and compelling. Brava. Keep it up, you are doing a good thing.