Eight and a half, today. How did that happen? One more birthday on this side of the fence, and then after that they're into the double digits. Big boys. Blink, blink.
They were summer babies, and to think of their birthday is to think of late July's deep heat.
|Jacob & Ethan, 1 day old|
Our car, street parked in New York City? Is not currently a vehicle, but rather a vaguely car-shaped snowbank. Plow-piled snow encases our car up to the windows plus the 19 fresh inches sit atop the roof like so much white fluffy frosting.
Frosting... that gets me to thinking... of cakes in general, and then birthday cakes in particular. Which draws us right back round again to the matter at hand: boys and half-birthdays, half-birthdays and boys.
So maybe I should take my cue from the above, combat a case of the mid-winter blues, cheer myself up, inspired by all this birthday and cake talk, and herewith take you on a photographic tour down birthday memory lane via my ONE claim to domestic awesomeness: my amazing mommy-made birthday cakes:
In the beginning were cupcakes for birthdays one and two. Easy to make, no big knives need be left laying around curious toddlers with swift, fat, grabby fingers. And? They didn't know any better, what was important was the eating of them.
But then they turned three, and had seen birthday cakes in books and on TV. Beautiful, decorated cakes. And Ethan pounced, begged, made specific
So it all began in 2005, when the boys were Thomas the Tank Engine obsessed 3 year-olds. Ethan had asked for a James cake, as his then love of the color red extended to all things, including trains. And I knew that for Jacob, who still yet did not always make his desires known, Thomas, the main character was the right choice.
Since I was making two cakes, and not everyone loves chocolate (although that makes no sense to Ethan who believes non-chocolate deserts have no reason to live), I made one cake, Ethan's, chocolate and the other, Jacob's, vanilla.
I pulled out the boys Thomas placements, and painstakingly copied the illustrations onto the cakes:
|2005: My FIRST cake - Thomas for Jacob|
|2005: James the red engine for Ethan|
OK, 2006: Once again, one chocolate, one not. Lemon-vanilla, this time. Also? This was the first year Jacob was on his special Gluten Free/Casein Free diet. So I had to find a really good vanilla GF/CF cake mix and make a practice cake before I inflicted it upon the masses.
I was, once again, taking design requests. And this year I figured out that printing out simple line-drawing coloring pages found online was the best way to create a "pattern" for my decorating.
So, four year-old Jacob was in love with Pingu the penguin:
|2006: Pingu for Jake|
|2006: Spidey for Ethan|
And in 2007? Cars, baby! Jake was in love, I mean IN LOVE with Mac, the big Mac truck who is Lightning's best friend:
|2007: Mac for Jake|
|2007 for Ethan: Route 66|
In 2008 I discovered the existence of Wilton shaped cake pans. Who knew? Learning about these was a revelation. There was still a fuck-ton of work involved, but at least I didn't have to research the design. Just E-bay the pans. (You didn't think my kids wanted any of the current, easy to obtain designs, did you? My kids?)
Once again the current superhero obsessions ruled: Batman for Jake and Power Ranger for Ethan. Jake's Batman cake was orange vanilla flavored and really delicious, no one would ever guess it was GF/CF unless they knew:
|2008: Jake loved Batman|
|2008: Ethan was all about the Power Rangers|
In 2009, I had some serious fun. Ethan had switched allegiances from the Bakugan to the Pokemon Japanimation tribe just before his birthday, and decided to "make it easy for you, Mom" by requesting a simple Pokeball design, as opposed to an elaborate character re-creation.
May I present the Pokeball cake: simple, elegant, nearly modernistic:
|2009: Ethan gets a Pokeball|
One day in June I had ducked into a Williams Sonoma store when a torrential rain suddenly came down upon me while waiting for the crosstown bus. What was in the sale bin, but a shaped caterpillar cakelet pan, and the inspiration struck:
|2009: A Very Hungry Caterpillar for Jacob|
|2009: Close up of the head cakelet|
Which brings us up to the present. This past year, 2010, was the boys' year of Pokemon. A shaped cake pan Pikachu (thank you Wilton) for Jacob, whose favorite color progressed to yellow this summer:
|2010: Pikachu for Jake|
|2010: Lapras for Ethan|
And now, in hindsight (because when have I ever NOT over-thought things), I realize that while I had thought I was doing this particular post to bring a little summer cheer into the winter gray, I also see, as this rolls along, that I had ulterior motives (when do I ever not, isn't there always a secondary agenda floating along under the overt... or is that just me?)*
I think I needed to remind myself, to prove to you all, that there's some things in life at which I do not, actually, completely suck. Because lately? I've been feeling pretty sucktastic, especially when it comes to the state of my messy home and all things domestic. Sigh.
And maybe it's just the inevitable post-operative depression talking (I had been warned it might set in at about 3 weeks when the physical was mostly healed but I was not yet back to 100%). But anyway, here it is: my house may be an absolute disaster, but there is something domestic at which I am fairly glorious. So take that!
Also, before you go suggesting I do something like this for a living? No, no and no. These take me FOREVER. I love doing this for my kids, they are a labor of love, and shall remain that way. Once a year. My kids only. Probably my grand-kids (way) down the road.
And now I'm off to make a special half-birthday lunch for my dear boys. Tomorrow they will be closer to nine, one day closer to being claimed fully by the world. Today they are still eight and a half, still mine.
*another example of how I have legitimately earned my crown as "Queen of the Run-on Sentence (with parenthetical clauses).