At the age of 25, my friends and I are entering a fun stage in life.

Nearly all of my friends are now out of college and happily married or planning a wedding. We're moving into our first homes or apartments and adjusting to the reality of mortgages, rent and full-time jobs. We're now fully immersed in the "real world."

If you remember when your generation hit this stage, you probably know what's coming next. Now that the wedding showers are over, it's time for a new kind of party: the baby shower.

Carbon County school districts, watch out. The school year 2014-2015 will be a busy one for kindergarten teachers!

It started with my older cousin, who was expecting twin girls. We cooed over tiny pink onesies and showered her with gifts of diapers, baby wipes and stuffed animals. It was a fun and exciting event, and my cousin was nearly bursting with happiness during the shower. She was even more excited when the twins finally arrived.

Shortly after the twins were born, another cousin announced that she was due this summer. A close friend is having a baby boy in December. Before long, I knew of seven close friends and relatives expecting babies within the year.

While I've had the pleasure of holding three of the seven babies, it still doesn't seem real. It seems like just yesterday we were all in high school together, discussing the upcoming football game or prom. We now discuss the benefits of the newest Graco Pack 'n Plays and swaddling blankets.

In case you didn't know, the Pack 'n Play is a new type of portable mesh playpen and bassinet. It is no longer socially acceptable to put your child in a "playpen," but Pack 'n Plays are all the rage right now. Today's swaddling blankets are pre-formed cloth that wrap around the baby and secure with Velcro, and are also very popular. I didn't know about either until our mini population boom took place this year.

Who knew that babies needed so much stuff? And are we really old enough to be having these conversations?

Ready or not, the rest of the babies are on their way! Even though my husband and I don't have children yet, I'm thrilled for my friends. We've come a long way, haven't we? It will be a lot of fun watching our friends enjoy their new children and seeing these infants grow and learn.

While I'm sure parenting can be exhausting, I can't think of a more satisfying job title than "parent." What other job could involve molding a person's values and beliefs, and hopefully raising a child who will make a positive difference in the world? I can't wait until it's our turn but we will have to wait awhile, because I still have one last bridesmaid dress to fit into.

As I find myself wandering through shower registries and baby aisles, I wonder how these tiny infants will change our friends' lives and, eventually, our own lifestyle. Surely parents have less money to spend after buying formula and diapers. Sleeping in on weekends will likely become a treat.

I'd also like to think that their lives, while more stressful, will be so much richer because of a new son or daughter.

For now, I stand on the sidelines of our local baby boom. It's sometimes OK to be a bystander. Until the right time comes for us, I'll have plenty of opportunities to practice changing diapers and assembling Pack 'n Plays.

I may even learn the art of swaddling.