A very good friend will be having her third child in February. She and her husband are over-the-moon happy, and so am I. At long last, one of my Austin friends is having a girl. (I have lots of nieces, and they are delightful, but they live up north and we do not.) Boys are fantastic, but have you seen some of the toys and clothes that are available for girls now? They’re enough to make me rethink being a tomboy when I was eight.

I had a tough time convincing her that we should have a baby shower. “But it’s our third child, and it isn’t proper to have showers for third children,” she said. “Bollocks!” I retorted. “All children should be showered with love, and a pox on Emily Post for saying that only first children should get baby showers. Besides, we don’t have to make it formal or fancy. We can do a storybook-and-dog baby shower!”

When I told Matt, Doc Randall the Younger, that I was hosting a baby shower, he snorted with laughter. “Erin, you don’t have kids. What do you know about throwing baby showers?”

Quite a lot, as it turns out. For example, I know that no one likes playing those awful baby-shower games, keep it to a couple of hours at most, and above all, serve liquor. The mother-to-be may not be able to drink, but some of the others there can and they’ll undoubtedly appreciate a good champagne cocktail. Lord knows that I do.

First things first: I needed to get the present lined out. You see, I even have a traditional baby gift: James Herriot’s A Treasury for Children (the story “Bonnie’s Big Day” is my favorite) and one of Monica McDowell’s denim baby quilts. They are beautiful, multipurpose, and they are one of the few quilts I’ve ever seen that can withstand the destruction of childhood. I cornered Monica when I was up in Montana in August to get on her quilting list. I know that she generally only quilts during the winter as a way to pass the time indoors, so I’d need to be near the top of the list in order to get a quilt by December.

Now that the quilt and book were taken care of, I needed to figure out what to serve. What I do no do well is desserts. Yes, I can bake frankenpies and things with rhubarb, but I’m not good at decorating. Fortunately, my friend Bobbi came to the rescue. “I was at a Divine Canine event the other day, and someone had done the most amazing dog cookies. Let me see if I can find out who did them.” A week later, she had an answer for me: Elaine Edge of Edge Desserts. Elaine and I traded emails for a bit, I told her what I needed, and we were good to go.

Finally, the fated Saturday arrived. The table was set, Joel picked up the pupcakes and cookies before disappearing off to a car auction, and I had vacuumed up any trace of dog hair. (Yes, I know the shower had a dog theme, but even I have limits.) The butternut squash lasagna finished thirty minutes before people began to arrive, there was enough kale salad to go around, and the pupcakes and storybook cookies couldn’t have been more adorable if they tried. Here is how it turned out.

And yes, I know that I have a giant cerulean blue sheep painting in my kitchen. Amanda and I got it last spring at the Roundtop antique fair. It makes me laugh every time I look at it. I bet you’re wishing that you’d thought to hang a sheep photo in your kitchen now, too. (Joel might give up that sheep painting, but I never will.)

And for the record, Matt, I’ve thrown at least six baby showers, and they’ve all gone well. I credit the inclusion of liquor.