Monday, June 22, 2009

You’ve had a birthday, shout “Hooray!”

It happened. I got another year older somehow. According to a song I heard once that’s supposed to make me wiser, too.

I think I’m slowly turning into a real mom/adult. Today I didn’t really care about what I wanted and couldn’t really think of anything that I wanted, anyway. But Rachel knew it was my birthday and she had a whole list of fun things that she thought we should do together and so I let her plan my birthday for me. I was happy that she had so many things that she wanted to do to help me celebrate.

She was actually very well behaved today and let me write and crochet a lot while she played by herself. That was nice.

After she was finished playing it was time for cake, apparently.

Practically everything Rachel knows about birthdays comes from Winnie the Pooh and Clifford. That means all she knows is that you need cake and you need party hats.

“Eat cake!” she informed me, “Birthday!”

I told her we didn’t have cake and that we would need to make a cake. I went online and found an easy yellow cake recipe and told her that as soon as I wrote the recipe down, we could make the cake.

“Writing down recipe,” she repeated, “Make cake!”

When I was finished writing down the recipe, though, she had to go potty and then she needed me to help her put her underwear back on.

“Hold this for me,” I said, “Don’t lose it, it’s the recipe.”

And then I got down to help her. She started reading the paper.

“Recipe—make cake,” she said, “In bowl. Eggs. Sugar. Stirring. Eat. Yummy cake!”

I looked up. She was scanning along under the words with her index finger, obviously not reading, but doing a fantastic job pretending to while making up a recipe.

We went into the kitchen to make the cake. She did most of the stirring herself while I battled ants. They found their way to our sugar canister, and while they couldn’t get past the rubber seal on the lid, they were doing their very best. I shook off the lid and picked all the ants off the side of the container. A few ants made it all the way inside (after I had removed the lid) and I had to get those out, too. It was dangerous work because as little as these ants are, their bites are rather fiery.


It was nice to have a little helper continue to stir while I was murdering ants.

The flour also had a few ants trying to pry the lid off the container, but not as many as were around the sugar. Funny how that works. Ants are a lot like children in that respect. And Andrew.


We had finished the batter and done a fine job eliminating the ants in just 20 minutes. Rachel suggested that we add sprinkles to the batter at the last minute, so I let her do that.


Then we put the cake in the oven and she sat on the stool licking out the bowl until the cake had finished baking. She didn’t want to leave the cake unattended and the minute it was out of the oven she demanded to try it. I convinced her that it would be too hot to try until Daddy got home and helped her put icing on it. Then we could try it.


After we were finished in the kitchen, Rachel wanted to color. She colored just fine by herself until she decided that she wanted to make up a recipe.

“Heping writing recipe, Momma! Hep!”

So I took notes while she told me how to make a cake again. She drew some of the things that you need to make a cake. The actual recipe we used was this one. I’m not sure it turned out great, but I was too full to savor it when we tried it and Rachel probably over stirred it…but this is what she based her recipe on. I wouldn’t recommend trying Rachel’s recipe, but you could try the actual recipe that we used if you wanted.


After that she played nicely with her baby dolls for a while.

And then she wanted to make party hats.

Daddy came home from school soon after we had finished with our hats and he took Rachel into the kitchen to make icing when Sister Lindsay stopped by bearing ice cream. I love her! We sat and visited for a while, since she’s my visiting teacher and everything.

When she left, Andrew came to me with bad news. Our powdered sugar had been compromised. He figured it out only after he had measured 3 cups of it into a bowl on top of some butter. He turned his back to grab something, turned back to the bowl...and it was swarming with mad, little ants. They were pouring out of the pile of sugar in the bowl; it was like he had measured half sugar/half ants.

He turned to plan B—the internet—and found a flour/granulated sugar/cream cheese recipe and started making that. While he was in the middle of that he decided we should probably go out to dinner before bedtime, so we left for the Nile. Andrew took me to TGIFriday’s. Rachel was so excited to go to a restaurant.

Of course, every time we feed her she says, “Lucky Rachel!” as if we maybe we weren’t planning on feeding her and she just lucked out that we did. “Yes! They’re feeding me again today! Jackpot!”

Her excitement for life never ceases to amaze me.

We caught a cab and hopped inside and what should be playing but a jingle for TGIFriday’s. We had a good laugh about that and didn’t even have to argue about the taxi fare because we got out at a busy road and he had to start driving again before he could ask us for more money.


After we had eaten we went home for birthday cake. Andrew and Rachel disappeared into the kitchen again, leaving me to digest in rare and precious solitude.

Then they brought out my beautiful birthday cake. Rachel had learned to say “Happy Birthday” and she wished me so when I sat down at the table. In case you can’t tell, there is a tree (circle by the 2) and an elbow (squiggle above the 2) and another elbow (bottom right of the 4) on my cake. Rachel drew them. Andrew drew the 24, in case you were wondering how old I turned.

Rachel helped stick in the candles.

“You can probably tell where,” Andrew told me, “They’re bunched too close together.”

“You mean right here where the candles are upside down?” I asked.

“Oh! That’s going to be a problem…” he said before grabbing the two candles on the bottom left hand side of the cake. He licked them off and flipped them over.


We took a few pictures before we lit the candles, which was a very good idea because 24 candles is too many to light and the first ones lit were little, bitty stubs by the time we got around to singing. Rachel and I, of course, wore our party hats. They’re mandatory at any party thrown by Christopher Robin or Rachel Heiss.
IMG_0038 IMG_0044

There were three trick candles on the cake, which was kind of exciting since we’ve never used trick candles before. After I blew out the candles (which I did in one breath, save for one trick candle that didn’t go out), we all had fun blowing out the trick candles again and again. Rachel will be well practiced for her birthday next month.


Rachel was very excited for the cake and for the fact that we were having a party, in general. She hasn’t witnessed a birthday since Andrew’s, which was last September. She kept saying, “Happy Birthday!” and “Birthday party!” and “Making cake!” and “Candles!” and “Party hats!”


I think she’ll be very excited for her second birthday party, which I haven’t even begun planning yet, but which I know will involve cake and party hats. How could it not?

It was a good day. Andrew cleaned up the cake mess, so we’re going to play the game he got me for my birthday now to celebrate the final hours of my first day being 24.


  1. I can't believe you didn't just eat the ant-infested icing! Jim Thompson will be so disappointed in you when he finds out! Hasn't he taught you anything, Nancy? You missed out on that free protein!

  2. Can you imagine!? The icing would have crawled off the cake!

  3. And, actually, when I IM'd Andrew to tell him about the ants, I threatened to just scoop the ants out of the sugar container and into the cake batter (there were only 4 or 5 ants that made it inside the container). His response: Ummmm....

  4. Happy Birthday! It sounds like it was fantastic - I've decided all holidays are better with a kid.

    I can't believe how long Rachel's hair is. Those last pictures really show it off - she's beautiful.

  5. Happy Birthday! Sorry I didn't hold out to deliver on your big day but really would it have been fair to any of us :)

  6. Thanks everyone. :)

    And, that's alright, Crystal. I am glad that you had her a little early and didn't end up going overdue just to have her on my birthday. I don't think I'd wish that on anyone!

  7. HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Those ants sound pesky, but here in Texas it doesn't seem much different. :)

  8. Happy birthday!!! It sounds like a great day!

  9. Happy Birthday! It sounds like it was a good day.

    That part about Rachel saying that she's lucky whenever you feed her totally cracks me up!