Posts Tagged 'first birthday'

Let ’em Eat Cake

 

Okay, so it was a little messy. 

For J’s big oh-1, I decided to be a super crafty mama and make him a cake. Not just any cake, but a gluten free cake in the shape of a horse. (I actually wanted to make a train cake, but I decided that not only was it waaay too complicated, but it needed a lot more candy items, most of which were totally not gluten free.)

Now, for some of you, you’re thinking, big deal. I could do that in my sleep. Well, you are probably always a crafty mama, whereas I would like to be a crafty mama, but in actuality everything I do comes out crooked. You probably cook things on a regular basis, and they probably come out okay. Now, I can cook, kind of, but I’m not what you’d call good at it, and I have never made a cake, and certainly not one that resembled anything besides a brick.

So… I hunted down this recipe for a gluten free cake, crossed my fingers that it wouldn’t taste like poo (which so many of them do), and set off in search of the ingredients. (I’d like to pause here and formally thank my friend Adam for recipe hunting for me. I wound up not using the delicious looking recipe that he sent me simply because I couldn’t find some of the things I needed.) You’d think this would be a fairly simple task. Rachel, you’d say, just go to the store.

Except that I live in a tiny little town (quite charming, really) in Montana. There are two grocery stores, but only one of them carries any sort of gluten free items, namely, Gluten Free Mama Almond Flour. Which is awesome, but very expensive, and totally not helpful in this particular instance. Forgetting this, I went to one store, then the other, and then to Walmart (which is what we do here when we’re desperate, because there’s nowhere else to go), where someone finally informed me that there’s actually a little health food store here (we’ve grown up!), but it was of course closed. Try again tomorrow. Saturday morning my mom agrees to watch the birthday boy so I can go on my hunt for xanthum gum. I was there for over an hour and a half (not sure what happened to me there, I think I entered some sort of time warp) when Mom called to inform me that J was crawling around looking for me signing “nurse” (see, that signing thing is handy), so home I went to care for the boy with xanthum gum in hand.

Hour later, back to the health food store for the flours (yes, that’s plural, go look at the recipe), then back to Super One hunting for the other things like eggs and mayo (which I hadn’t gotten the night before, in case I never found xanthum gum). I get everything in the basket, only to discover that they didn’t have chocolate twizzlers. This was crucial to the make it look like a horse directions. I decided since I now needed to go to Safeway for the twizzlers, I should get everything there. Well… no twizzlers there. Back to Walmart. Nope. I finally found chocolate twizzlers at the gas station, awesome. Headed back home… and realized that I had never gotten the rest of the ingredients at the grocery store, so now all I have is xanthum gum, tapioca flour, white rice flour, and twizzlers (and some other delicous gluten free goodies I found at the health food place, but that’s besides the point). Back to Super One. (Now maybe my mom will understand why it took me two days and several hours to go shopping for his cake. It’s really not that big of a town.) 

Home, put the boy down for nap, and finally, time to start baking the cake! I carefully lay out all the ingredients, get everything ready, measure the flour… and J wakes up. Now I’m holding the boy and pouring the flour, patting myself on the back for not making a huge mess, and then my mom comes in and comments on what a wreck I’ve made of the kitchen.  Apparently, I really am that awkward, especially when there’s flour involved. 

 

What is it, Mama? 

What is it, Mama?

 

 They turned out pretty.

They turned out pretty.

After the cakes cooled, the real work began.  First, I had to cut up cardboard boxes and craft a tray big enough to hold the thing.  Then there was the issue of construction.  See, the only square pan that I had was 8×8 instead of 9×9, which doesn’t seem like a big deal until it’s time to cut out shapes to make it look like the little diagram.  I wound up doing some weird cake jigsaw puzzle to try to make it work.   Luckily, chocolate frosting makes a *wonderful* glue.  Horse successfully painted (the ears were kind of tricky), eyeball added (Junior Mint with a touch of vanilla frosting for twinkle, which my mom tried to wipe off), nose attached, halter carefully draped, it was time to add the mane.  Two hours of cutting twizzers into strands and carefully arranging them to look like hair, and I was finally done.

It actually looks like a horse!

It actually looks like a horse!

We managed to cart the cake to my sister’s house for the party without any mishap, quite an amazing feat considering the windstorm and yet another stop at the store. I am pleased to announce that not only did it look pretty good, it tasted delicious, even to my gluten-eating companions.  Jayden certainly enjoyed it.

 It's a hit!

It's a hit!

All that remains...

All that remains...

 

Next year, I’m thinking cupcakes…

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Happy Birthday, Baby!

And so we meet...
 
One year ago today, a miracle landed in my life.
 
Literally, landed.  After hours of back labor and doctor drama (a story in itself), Jayden Eli surprised everyone by arriving in a rush and landing on the hospital floor.  The nurse had just enough time to put her hand under his head, but the rest of him met the ground with an audible splat.  How was it the doctor put on the chart?  Oh yes, “arrived precipitously on the hospital floor.”  He was immediately nicknamed Crash.

He was a month early, tiny and blue and I’m not sure which one of us was more surprised to find him suddenly in the outside world.  There was a long moment when everything froze, and we just stared at each other.  I probably would have stayed frozen like that for the rest of the day, but nurses rushed in to lift me to the bed and move J to the baby warmer where they spent a good deal of time trying to get him to breathe.  I’d tell you how terrifying that was, but in all honesty it didn’t become scary to me until much later.  I think I was in shock, because I just stared in silence as the doctors and nurses fluttered around him. 

The next few hours were utter chaos.  We’re not even sure what time he was actually born, because no one managed to look at the clock.  Not that I cared much about that.  Nothing mattered beyond the tiny little being that had finally been placed in my arms.  It wasn’t until the dark, quiet hours of that following night that it suddenly connected in me that the bundle I had been clutching for hours was actually the same baby that had been inside of me for all those months.  It was a very strange, powerful moment.  I had not slept for over 48 hours.  I had been through the most intense, grueling, powerful experience of my life.  And yet… I have never been so incredibly exhilirated as I was in that moment.  I couldn’t have slept, even if I had wanted to.

We had a rough start, Jayden and I, but you wouldn’t know it looking at us now.  He has thrived and grown (perhaps a little too quickly for my taste), evolved from the tiny helpless stranger that fell into my life to the  happy, quirky, opinionated toddler who lights up my world. 

It’s been a good year.  Happy birthday, baby.