Saturday, November 22, 2008

Birthday in Absence

This is a cake. And yes, it is shaped like a turkey. Why? An excellent question.

Allow me to explain.

Today is Dean's 29th birthday.

29 years ago this day was Thanksgiving Day. So his mother, as a tradition, has always baked him this "turkey cake" in remembrance of that year when she did not get to eat any Thanksgiving dinner because she was busy. You know, at the hospital.

So now, as his wife, the ritual of baking this cake has passed to me. Dean is still in Afghanistan, obviously, but in our 4 years of marriage the boys have come to also expect the turkey cake this time of year. So I told them that even with Dean away we would celebrate his birthday by making a "practice" cake, and then we could bake him another one when he got home. The reason for this was twofold: One-Who doesn't like to eat cake? and Two-I really did need the practice. This freakin' cake is COMPLICATED.

In case you can't tell from the picture, the frosting is applied in tiny swirly dots all over the cake in various colors. This takes the patience of a saint, which I clearly am not. When my mother in law makes this cake it is beautiful, all the dots are uniform in size and shape, and in neat little rows. But she has had 28 years of practice, so I can't really expect to compete. Plus I had to do said icing application with a crying toddler (who had spent the morning in the ER due to an ear infection that just won't quit) on my hip. So I was using the icing applicator with one hand and bouncing and rocking Hannah with the other.


When Mary came in and saw the state of things in the kitchen I said to her "Just imagine 20 something years ago your mom was doing this with YOU on her hip!" which made us both laugh. Then she took Hannah out to the little house for a few minutes so I could use both hands for a bit. That didn't last terribly long, so then Mary stepped in and finished the icing so we wouldn't be eating a turkey that looked half-plucked. It was a learning experience, but it turned out pretty good anyways.

Then we sang a quick Happy Birthday to Dean and had cake and ice cream in his honor.

Happy Birthday, baby. I love you.

Monday, November 17, 2008


Waiting is difficult.

Whether its waiting for your human to throw the gosh-darn ball already so you can chase it at lightspeed until you crash head first in to the fence or waiting for your husband to come home from a 15 month deployment, the waiting part will most likely drive you crazy. If you fall in to the first category you can jump up and down and bark and run in circles. If you fall in to the second category you probably have trouble eating and sleeping, along with spending prolonged periods of time counting and recounting the days left on the calendar. None of these activities actually help the anticipated event occur any faster, but in either case you just can't help yourself.

We have entered in to the count-down-to-home stretch at our house. I've been saying for awhile now that we were going to make a paper chain to count down, but we have yet to do it. Its not that I don't WANT to, I think I'm just still in shock that its actually TIME to do it. I had better get with the program soon though or our paper chain is going to be less of a chain and more of a small belt. Christmas for once will take a backseat as the major event of the year in my young children's lives as they eagerly await the arrival of a man not in red, but in digital print cammo. Even Hannah seems to have caught on somewhat that something big is about to happen as she will periodically exclaim "Daddy? Back? Airplane?" Jude's class had a circle time activity where each child took a turn saying "I am Thankful for...." as the teacher wrote their list on the board. What was Jude most Thankful for? His Stepdad. Eden has taken it upon himself to constantly reinforce the schedule to us all repeatedly stating "Well, don't forget, Dean MIGHT be home on THIS day or he might be home on THIS day, or maybe somewhere between the two. But either way Christmas won't come till he's here" They want to talk about it every morning before school and every night before bed.

The excitement level around here is definitely escalating. Hopefully we won't all need chemical sedation by the time the big day actually arrives.