The Second Leg Of The 12th Birthday Marathon

On Thursday morning, when he was OFFICIALLY TWELVE, because YES!  4:47 PM on August 8th had already rolled by and ushered him into another year of life, the boy decided to bake himself a birthday cake.

The boy loves to bake.  He loves to cook.  And somewhere between last winter and now, he’s become quite the little baking chef.

(It’s like I’m a stranger in my own home, and I don’t understand this kid.)

(One night last week, Hubs came home from work and yelled out, “Something smells delicious!”  And I said, “It’s a chicken cordon blue casserole that I made for you!”  And Hubs said, “You mean it’s one you bought from the Schwan’s man today?”  I gasped!  I stared him down.  I said, “No!  I did NOT buy you a casserole from the Schwan’s man!”  Hubs looked around the kitchen.  “There are no dirty dishes from all the cooking and the mixing.”  I replied, “I’m a very tidy cook.”  Hubs opened up the cupboard to our trashcans.  “Ah-ha!  I rest my case, based on the evidence, which I’d like to submit as Exhibit A.”)


(So that’s why I don’t understand the boy’s love of all things baking and cooking, because he didn’t get that passion from me.  I cook because I have to cook — not because I love to cook.)

Where were we?

So yes.  On Thursday, the boy baked himself a chocolate cake from scratch.  He didn’t use a boxed mix, because at his young age, he swears that Betty Crocker mixes equal I DIDN’T REALLY BAKE THIS.  (He has a lot to learn in life.)  The boy used real flour.  And real sugar.  And real unsweetened cocoa.  And eggs.  And even things like baking powder and salt and vanilla extract.

He followed the directions perfectly.  The boy has made this cake recipe about five other times, and let me tell you:  It could win the GRAND CHAMPION — I AM THE WINNER, WINNER, WINNER! ribbon at the county fair.  It is some good cake.

The boy had some cousins over to help him bake the cake.  Sister brought her kids to our house, and L and K were more than happy to dump in cocoa powder and turn the mixer on.  They were also VERY HELPFUL when it came time to lick the beaters.

Cousin H was also at our house, but she didn’t help much with the baking.  Something about SHE KEEPS PUTTING THE MEASURING SPOONS INTO HER MOUTH!!, which OSHA didn’t approve of, and neither did the Baking Police.

And then do you know what happened?


I went to pop the two round cakes out of their pans, so that the boy could stack them together and frost them and present his baking masterpiece later that evening, and something went dreadfully wrong.

Yes, the pans were greased.

Yes, the pans were floured.

Yes, the directions were followed completely.

And still the cakes stuck to the pans, and when I flipped them over, they fell out in four hundred different chunks.

I believe the best descriptive words would be LARGE CAKE CRUMBLES.

The boy may have gasped in shock.  Any professional baker who sees someone with my lack of culinary skill ruin a cake like I did, wants nothing more than to go sit in a dark corner and have a good cry.

I told the boy, “Listen.  We’ll buy a cake at the store.  This cake wasn’t meant to be.”

So we bought a package of cupcakes.

When we loaded up to head to the park for Party Number Two, the boy pitched the bag containing the cupcakes into the back of the Suburban.  Obviously, he has no real concern for store-bought pastries.  The cupcakes landed upside down and stuck to the top of their box.  The frosting came off.  The cupcakes broke apart.  We had cupcake pieces stuck in smeared frosting.

We stopped and bought a small cake at another store.

Then we stopped and picked up pizzas.

When we got to the park, Hubs parked our Suburban, and I turned around to look at the boy in the backseat.  He had been holding the pizzas.  Instead of holding the stack of boxes FLAT ON HIS LAP, as everyone knows you hold a boxed pizza, the boy had been clutching them to his chest… UPRIGHT.

As in… UP!  RIGHT!

All the pizzas slid in their boxes and resembled pizza casseroles.

Then Hubs opened the backdoor of the Suburban and the newest cake fell out.  It landed on the pavement, upside down in its box.  The frosting came off.

Ever have one of those days?  I bit my lip because do you know what?  I really wanted to shout ugly words.

Thankfully, we were amidst family who all laughed at our misfortune and said, “Pizza casserole and cake slop for dinner will be great!”

The cousins played at the playground.  They waded in the creek.  They chased one another, laughed with one another, tagged one another, and had a marvelous time.  They weren’t even fazed by the looks of their dinners.  Apparently, kids think cheese pizzas are just fine, whether you can hold a piece in your hands, or you have to eat it out of a bowl with a spoon.

Everyone sang Happy Birthday to the boy, and he blew his candles out.

On the frostling-less cake.

And then it was time for THE PRESENTS.

The boy got some antique fountain pens.  Antique, as in SOMEONE WROTE LETTERS HOME WITH THEM FROM THE CIVIL WAR.  He was plum-dang excited.  The boy and the old fountain pens are tight, and he is fully capable of giving a lecture in a college classroom about the intricacies of outdated writing implements.

The boy LOVES his fountain pens!

He also got a set of Legos.

Because he barely has any Legos.

Poor boy.

(We may also need to see the eye doctor, as evidenced by the way he studied the Lego box.)

And then Grammy and Papa gave the boy something that he hadn’t even asked for.  It was something that he didn’t even really know existed.  Hubs suggested it as a gift idea for his parents to get for the boy, because this is what HUBS WANTED FOR THE BOY’S BIRTHDAY.

It’s a BUILD-IT-YOURSELF REMOTE CONTROLLED CAR.  It was a box with six million, nine hundred and eighty-two pieces in it, so, you know, SOME ASSEMBLY REQUIRED.

(Which I imagine is implied with the words BUILD-IT-YOURSELF.)

There is an engine.  And wheels.  And wires.  And wires.  And also wires.  Hubs nearly hopped up and down with excitement over the boy’s gift, because Hubs had one of these when he was a kid.

The real excitement comes in the fact that this car, when SOME ASSEMBLY REQUIRED has taken place, will travel at speeds exceeding 50 mph!

People, my first car (God bless that 1982 Honda Accord!) wouldn’t even go that fast without shutting the air conditioner and the radio off.

The boy and Hubs spent most of Sunday on our family room floor, in front of the RECORDED Bronco game, because apparently I violated the Broncos’ schedule by planning a family birthday dinner for the boy during their first pre-season game.  Hubs and his brother informed me that I had no real respect for the blue and orange.

All I said in return was, “Bring Tebow back!”

While the RECORDED FROM THURSDAY NIGHT Bronco game played on the big screen, Hubs and the boy laid out all six-million-plus-some-more pieces, and they set to work.  The boy was so happy, he was like a Labrador puppy who was in danger of wetting on the carpet.  He kept saying, “This is as good as Legos, Mom!”  All I could do was nod, because in addition to not loving Big Foot or cake baking or the televised football games, I also have NO DESIRE TO BUILD MY OWN CAR.

Even if it does go fifty-some FAST miles per hour.

That’s what a Chevy dealer is for, people.

On Sunday night, Hubs said, “I thought having one of these cars in the family would be enough, but I’m going to have to buy my own kit now.  I need something to RACE AGAINST the boy’s car!”

Heaven help us.

And that, people, was THURSDAY’S PARTY.  We’re coming in on the final stretch of the Birthday Marathon.  We’ll see y’all back here tomorrow night.

I’ll be picking up stray car parts off of my family room floor until then.

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