My 34th Birthday

Yesterday was my birthday.  I turned 34, perhaps the most boring age on the planet.  34 is no different from 33.  Now 35?  That’s an important birthday–officially on the downward slope to 40.

Oddly enough, I spent the night before my birthday making a birthday cake for someone else.  Even more odd, I took it to a birthday party that wasn’t for me or the person whose cake I was making.  It was a surprise party for my husband’s grandmother, who thought she was coming to my birthday party (though I suspect she wasn’t really buying that.)  It was very sweet because her daughter, who lives in China, came in for the occasion and she wasn’t expecting that.  The look on her face was priceless.

Anyway, the cake.  I know you want a picture.  I will oblige.  It is a “sewing” theme cake and one that I made up as I went along.  I think it turned out pretty cute.

Small tiered cake (single layers) with fondant buttons, needle and thread, ribbons, and ribbon roses.)
Sewing Cake with buttons and ribbon roses

Pink Lemonade Pound Cake with Lemon Buttercream Icing
fondant buttons and ribbon roses

Fondant Buttons and Ribbon Roses

As with all my cakes, I was up until the wee hours of the morning, decorating.  It doesn’t matter when I start a cake, I’m always up at 2 AM.   When I finally decided to go to bed, my sick little girl woke me up, crying, because her ears hurt.  By the time I got her back to bed, it was after 4:00.  I went to bed and then woke up at 8:00 and had to clean up some vomit.  My poor little sick girl had coughed until she gagged.

Not a great start to a birthday.

But it got better.

I got to eat some good barbecue at the birthday party.  And I got to watch my beloved University of Kentucky Wildcats beat the despised University of Louisville Cardinals.  Goodness, it felt good to admit I despise the Cards.  On Facebook, everybody is so polite and sportsmanlike about the whole thing.  I don’t get it.  What’s the point of a rivalry if there’s no hate and vitriol involved?  Just because some people start taking the trash talk personally, like they play for the team or something, I’m supposed to be “classy” and write things like, “Good game” or “Congrats UL for making the Final Four?”


What I really want to write is, “Neener, neener, neener.  We won and you lost because you suck and we don’t.”

Anthony Davis is ridiculous and I love this shot. That's right, UofL, just watch him go to work. There's nothing you can do about it, anyway.

Yeah, I know, I’m acting 4, not 34.  Whatever.  Shut up.  Point is, UK made it to the National Championship Game and I’m really excited because they’ll be playing Kansas.  Why?  Because writing UK-KU makes me happy because it’s symmetrical and I love symmetry.  Yeah, I know, I’m a weirdo.  Whatever.  Shut up.

So, that was my birthday.  Well, part of it, anyway.  I get to have a Part II–dinner out with the husband on Friday night while my saint of a mother in law keeps all five of the kids.

I am totally spoiled.

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A Week of Surprises

My blog has been too serious lately.  I need to lighten up a bit and what better way to do that than to do another cake post?  Everyone loves cake.  As luck would have it, I’ve done four cake projects this past week–4 cakes and 24 cupcakes.

The first cake was for a little girl’s 8th birthday.  She wanted a blue, zebra-striped cake. Surprisingly, this was the second request in less than a week that I had for a blue zebra print cake.  Zebras are very cool.

The next two cakes were for a little boy’s 1st birthday.  As we are all apt to do, these parents want to instill a fanatical love for their favorite college football team into their boy as early as possible.  So, Mr. Saks, you got 2 super cute Auburn University Tigers Cakes!

My husband suggested I do a “joke” University of Alabama Crimson Tide cake to go along with these.  I didn’t think Saks’ mommy and daddy would think it was very funny. (For those of you who have no idea what this is all about, see here.)

Surprisingly, these awesome people threw in a little extra $$ when I delivered the cakes.  To quote Saks’ super nice daddy, “You don’t charge enough.”  I’m not arguing with that.

The next cake project was 24 cupcakes for my son to take to school.  He turned 6 on Friday.  Un-be-liev-able.   I didn’t take a picture of those because they were just plain cupcakes, sprinkles, and a football ring stuck in the middle. I did, however, take a picture of him in his birthday hat they gave him at school.  He wore it all day Friday and Saturday–even in the Wal-Mart,  to my 12-year-old’s embarrassed horror.

He is beautiful. Not just handsome. Beautiful.

And a little silly. Love that missing tooth!

Surprisingly, my favorite part about these pictures is that he still has chocolate from the cupcakes on his face.

Now for the biggest surprise of the week.

I am horrible at planning my kids’ birthday parties.  We always have the party a week after the actual birthday, partly because my kids have inconvenient birthdays.  (Spring Break, 2 days after the 4th of July, and the first month of summer–when everyone is travelling.)  Mostly because I’m a bad mom procrastinator.   This birthday, my 12-year-old son took matters into his own hands.

He wanted to make it a surprise party.  He picked a date and time, designed the invitations, printed them, handed them out, and even designed the cake.  More than that, he sketched the Sonic characters on the cake for me to fill in.  Folks, he did this on buttercream icing with a paintbrush and liquid food coloring.  And that is hard!  It requires a light hand and a whole lot of patience.  I was blown away that he put so much into it.  Normally, he just calls Billy an idiot, punches him, and tells him to go away.

Finished Cake

Awesome first cake, don’t you think?  Yes, those are Baby Girl’s fingerprints in the border. She loves “tate” (cake.)

Surprisingly, the secret of the surprise birthday party wasn’t leaked.  That is a small miracle, considering those keeping the secret were under the age of 12.  I simply took Billy to the Publix and waited for everyone to arrive, turn off the lights and hide.  When we got there everyone yelled “Surprise!” and Billy jumped and made the best surprised face ever.  Of course, no one got a picture of it.  A head in the way, delayed digital camera, etc.  So we had him recreate it.

As you can see, he was too excited to sit still during the re-creation.  This is surprise in motion.

Just to give you an idea of what life with this devilishly cute little boy is like, I have one small story from that trip to Publix with my beautiful, silly Billy.

Billy shares my love of Mumford and Sons.  Bless him, he’s the only one.  Well, he has one song he adores.  We were playing it in the car and he was singing along.  Then, after one line, he stops and says, “That is gross!”

The line was, “All my bridges have been burned.”  I was confused.  I explained, in 6-year-old terms, what that phrase means.  He looked at me for a second, brow furrowed, and then his face lit up, as only his can.

“Oh! I thought he meant these.”  He patted his pants and guffawed.

The dear lad thought the line was, “All my britches have been burned.”

Not surprisingly, that moment has come to my mind a lot today and every time I giggle and get tears in my eyes.  Both for the humor and the absolute preciousness of it.  Though I still don’t understand what is gross about it.  Then again, I’m not 6.

Happy Birthday, Billy!

Another Birthday *Sigh*

Molly 2011

My oldest daughter, Molly, is 8 today.  At 1:00 this morning, she was still awake.  Yeah, we take full advantage of summer break around here–late nights watching movies, late mornings spent blissfully in bed.  She was going through the kitchen on the way to the bathroom and it occurred to me it was officially her birthday.  I called her to me, gave her a hug, and told her happy birthday.  She looked at the clock and said, “It doesn’t feel like I’m 8.”  Exactly, dear girl.

How can she be 8?  She started kindergarten yesterday, last week she was a toddler, and a week before that she was the newborn daughter I never thought I’d have.   How can this eye-rolling, hands-on-hips, Taylor Swift loving, increasingly boy-crazy woman-child be that same baby-breathed, finger clutching, **Tickles and Rubbings** lover I held in my arms just a short time ago?  It’s impossible.  Inconceivable.  Insupportable.  Inevitable.

**Tickles and Rubbings is alternating between finger tickles down the spine and rubbing the entire back.  It was Molly’s daily request up until a couple of years ago.  I miss it.  Horribly.

They have to grow up and they insist on doing it as quickly as possible.  The process is a chaotic and frustrating one.  I get caught up in the melodrama, the fights, the mess, and the discipline of raising 5 kids.  Some days I have trouble remembering why I kept any of them past the age of three.  Then a birthday arrives and suddenly all I remember are the sweet times.  The times when I was “mommy” and the center of their universe.  When looking at them was looking at an honest to God miracle.  I promise myself I’ll think of them like that when they’re being horrible to one another and I intend to keep that promise.  Then they’re calling each other “idiot” and throwing freshly folded laundry on their floor and I forget.  I forget the miracle.  The blessing.  The honor of being a mother.

So, I make the promise again today.  I can keep it this time, right?  Baby girl has just smashed a strawberry cereal bar into the carpet.  Molly, dear girl, has just hit her brother and called him a moron.  Deep breaths.  They are a miracle.  A blessing.  A blessing.  A blessing.

Bye Bye, Birthday Ballyhoo

Daily Foglifter:  April 9 is the 99th day on the Gregorian Calendar.

Tomorrow is my oldest son’s 12th Birthday.  How in the world is that possible?  I mean, he was just born and now he’s almost a teenager.  I was a teenager yesterday  (plus 14 years and 9 days.)  It’s crazy.

Aside from the fact that he makes me feel REALLY old, there are positives to having an older child.

No more themed birthday parties with goodie bags, pinatas, and matching paper plates, napkins, cups, hats, favors, etc.  Seriously, what a racket.

I don’t have to invite every single kid in his class to avoid hurt feelings.  Who wants 20+ kids in their home?

Party games are lame.  With the Wii, Nintendo DS, and PS3, who needs Pin the Tail on the Donkey?

He still wants the cake made by mom and he’s PROUD of it.  It’s the one day in the year when his mom is quasi-cool, in that dorky-embarrassing-mom-kind-of-way.

Harry Potter's Firebolt

This year, the order is for a LEGO mini-figure head cake, pizza, and a campout in the backyard.

Is this kid great, or what?

  1. The cake is unique and super-duper easy to make.
  2. I don’t have to cook.
  3. The kids will be OUTSIDE.  No commotion inside the house.

It’s almost like it’s MY birthday….

“Even as kids reach adolescence, they need more than ever for us to watch over them. Adolescence is not about letting go. It’s about hanging on during a very bumpy ride.”

~Ron Taffel