Paris or bust

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I don’t like to ask for things for myself. Not for Christmas, not for birthdays. It always makes me feel guilty or presumptuous to tell someone I want something and expect them to get it for me.

You will realize then, what a strange and unusual thing it was for me to ask for something for my birthday this year. It wasn’t much really, just……Paris. I’ve expressed my love for the place before. Ā I miss the sights, the smells, the moon in the sky over the Champs de Elysee. It’s been sooooo long since we’ve been there, my memories have taken on a dreamlike quality, I need to know if it’s as magical as I believe it was. My birthday fell during our first trip to France years ago, early in our relationship. To me, celebrating again with him and our kids would be a beautiful way to show how far our relationship has progressed.

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A birthday to remember

A birthday to remember

I started my campaign early…. sometime last year. I wasn’t subtle about it, instead painting a picture of celebrating my 40th in front of the Eiffel tower with him and the kids. For me, the timeline to getting back to France was all about potty training…and I was gambling that Jenna would be done by now. Husband had different criteria, like the kids being older with more endurance for days of walking all over the city. He wants to be able to do all the things we did before they came along…..do I have the heart to tell him that it will NEVER be like that again? No….he can find it out on his own….

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Well, it didn’t happen. I didn’t win the argument, and he seems to think that celebrating 41, or even 42 would be just as special over there as my 40th. I would have liked to do a comparative study and test that theory but alas, it is not to be. C’est la vie…..

So, tonight we went to dinner with some family and friends. They have been making a huge effort to get us out expressly to celebrate my birthday and it has taken this long for it to work out. The longer time goes on, the more uncomfortable I get, feeling guilty that people feel the need to make this effort to celebrate for me at all.

Dinner was nice, the food and company both satisfying and smile-inducing.

Then came the cake….

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I could not believe anyone paid that much attention to my babblings about how much I liked Paris. It was really touching that someone went out of their way to give me a version of something they knew I wanted.

So in a way….I got what I was asking for. My family with me to celebrate my birthday near the Eiffel tower….

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And even better? They all thought I was just turning 39. šŸ™‚

Purple cake is the best for birthdays

Jenna and I decided to put our heads together and come up with the absolute best possible cake to makeĀ for her daddy’s birthday.

It didn’t take long for her to spot it.

At Target, of course.

At Target, of course.

This was not negotiable. So, I got it. Along with purple Funfetti frostingĀ because we don’t do anything halfway in this family.

Ready to tackle the intricacies of a layer cake with purple stripes, we jumped right in.

She's ready to start!

She’s ready to start!

Mixing the purple color in

Mixing the purple color in

So after following the directions and adding eggs, water, oil, blah, blah, blah…. we divided the batter and added purple dye to one bowl. You then take 1/2 to 1/3 cup of each color and alternate pouring it into the center of each pan… letting it spread out before adding the next scoop. This is how you make the stripes. Kids thought it was great fun.

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We bake. We cool. We dump out the cakes and are ready to stack and frost.

Now, I am not a master cake decorator… but my mom was/is. She took classes and everything. I know how to properly stack layers and frost a cake because of her. However, we were in no mood for the massive amount of wasted time that goes into doing things….properly. Besides, it’s really not as fun that way.

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Now, you can’t see just how big the gaps around the center of the cake were since we didn’t level the layers nicely before throwing them together. The purple funfetti frosting was used as more of a spackle in this situation, and it worked beautifully. All the gaps were filled in and I didn’t have to open an extra container.

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Jenna is pretty thrilled with herself, for having the genius idea of making a purple cake. This is her realizing her dream.

Sammy is a bit speculative at this point. Not fully taken with the idea yet, but willing to see it through.

Out comes the sprinkles....

Out comes the sprinkles….

Very serious business

Very serious business

Now… at this point the cake was done, but we had to wait until Daddy got home from his trip to celebrate his birthday. So….. the next day, as he is upstairs being very slow as usual getting himself ready for the day……. the kids were “decorating” for him. Still in the purple theme.

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And now, with the spiderwebby streamers in place, and daddy finally ready to come downstairs to witness the amazingness of his birthday surprise………

Ladies and gentlemen…. without further ado, I give you…..

The Cake.

Ta-da!!

Ta-da!!

jealous much?

jealous much?

Good choice, Jenna. He didn’t see that one coming. Best, most delicious, purple-striped birthday cake ever.

Funny little things

Yesterday my oldest turned 18. I’ll save my emotions about that event for another blog.

Instead, I want to mention something kind of funny, sweet, unexpected.

I went to get her cake at a local grocery store, they have a GREAT fudge torte. Mmmmmmmmm, fudge torte……….

Anyway, this young kid was behind the cake counter, complete with hair net and goofy smile. He was probably around my daughters age, and seemed so comfortable with himself. And happy, the guy seemed really, really happy. Happy to help us and happy to tell me that he was NOT a professional cake decorator, but he would give it his best shot if I wanted him to write something on it.

“Can you write Happy Birthday?”

He wants to scratch his head, I can tell… he looks at the cake, concentrating.

“Ummmmm, I can maybe write Happy B-day?”Ā  He says this like an apology, and a question.

“How about just putting her name on it, R-A-C-H-E-L.”

This seems like a good compromise.

He gets to work, and I can tell he’s new at this job…it takes him a while to get the cake out of the display, to find the boxes, and the icing.

And he takes a while. I’m waiting, vaguely wondering how long it takes to write those 6 letters, but grateful that I left the 2 year old at home. So I relax, and wait.

He comes back over, wants to make sure of the spelling. Nods emphatically, and turns his back to me, and continues his work. I notice that he needs a hair cut, because I’m a mom.

Finally, he is done.

He comes over, cake in hand-but above my line of vision. He stands and smiles at me, ready to make a speech.

“To make up for not being able to write out ‘Happy Birthday’, I did a little art work for you instead”

His voice SOUNDS like a smiley face. And with a flourish, he presents me with….. the cake.

it's an original.

it’s an original.

He had doodled on our cake. And he was completely adorable, and so proud of himself. It made our fancy fudge torte into something so much more. He infused it with his sweet goofiness. I wanted to hug him, but thanked him instead.

And everyone loved it.