A very bookish baby shower

A very bookish baby shower

In early February, friends and family gathered to welcome my cousin Karen’s little one — due later this month! Though I meant to write about this a little earlier than right now, it’s fun reliving that afternoon . . . and all the awesome touches that went into making it special.

Book wreathFrom the food to the decorations to the games, these lovely ladies — Karen’s cadre of awesome friends — put on a day to remember. Walking up to the front door put you face-to-face with a book-inspired wreath (that I kind of wanted to steal. Did I say that?). I’m not talented enough to even begin thinking about how the ladies whipped this wreath up, but seriously: it was impressive.

I mentioned the prep work for the big day and how guests were asked to bring their favorite childhood reads to build the baby’s library, which I thought was an awesome idea. Upon arrival, we were given book plates to sign so each story would bear an imprint of the giver. I love that my little cousin will someday flip through If You Give A Mouse a Cookie and see my chicken scratch!

Book plates

Making our way into the dining room, each of the dishes had been inspired by a children’s story — like The Onion’s Great Escape. As I’d started Weight Watchers about two weeks before, I had to run out of there as fast as my jiggly legs would carry me. Still? I could totally appreciate the creativity from afar, and I only snuck in once: to get a snivel of strawberry pretzel salad, a personal favorite (and Karen’s, too!).

Pigs in a blanket

Onions Great Escape

As we all admired the stories artfully placed around the living room, it was obvious that Baby’s library was going to be pretty impressive — though most of us were more concerned with a certain dessert in the kitchen. Our grandmother commissioned a book cake for the occasion, topped with Mother Goose reading a story, and I almost died from the cute.

Book cake

And though I heard it was delicious, I didn’t eat any cake.

I did have two of Maw Maw’s famous homemade peanut butter cups . . . but I’m only human.

We had so much fun celebrating Karen and Ben, who are one of the best and sweetest couples I know. I’m so excited to welcome a new member to our growing family, and I wish their trio so much love and happiness.

And lots — and lots — of good reads!

If you ask a Meg to choose a story . . .

If You Give A Mouse

At my cousin’s recent book-inspired baby shower (which was one of the most gorgeous showers I’ve attended — bar none. More on that in another post!), guests were asked to bring their favorite childhood reads to help build the new little one’s library. As I mentioned in January, I was all over this.

My mom and I made a trip to our local bookstore (yay, we still have one!) to wander the kids’ section. I hadn’t spent any amount of time back there since I worked at Borders, its previous incarnation, and those times were usually awful; they required me getting down my knees to pick up books that had been strewn all over the floor. I can count on one hand the times I’d wander back to the children’s section while working and wouldn’t discover a very localized tornado had chucked everything off the shelves and into the walkway.

But this time? Total fun — though choosing just one was really difficult. I spent way too much time debating the merits of several picture books, reminiscing with Mom about the times she’d read classics like “The Berenstain Bears” to my sister and me. In the end, I wound up selecting an unconventional favorite — because I feared my usual loves, like Dr. Seuss’ One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, might result in duplicates.

My choice? If You Give A Mouse a Cookie by Laura Joffe Numeroff and illustrated by Felicia Bond.

Published in 1985, the year I was born, I remember spending hours reading and re-reading this story on the floor of my elementary school library. As kids, it was just hilarious. Described as a “circular story,” I loved the symmetry of it all. Although, at 7, I doubt I would have described it that way.

There are so many awesome children’s stories, though — many of which were highlighted at the shower. My sister brought a selection of Mercer Mayer’s “Little Critter” books and a few favorites from “The Berenstain Bears,” and Mom found a musical book featuring “A Charlie Brown Christmas” — the TV special she looked forward to watching every holiday season (and still does!).

It was so fun to see what others had chosen for Karen and Ben’s little girl or boy to come, and I may or may not have gotten some ideas for my own future kids’ secret library. Plus, the whole experience reminded me of some beloved classics I’d completely forgotten: like The Giant Jam Sandwich. Man, that book was awesome.

Um, I kind of added it to my Amazon cart. For . . . me.

Books at the shower