Category Archives: birthday

Chocolate Fudge “Blackout” Cake (a new favorite!)

Did you know? The most popular summer recipe is CAKE. I find this surprising…over ice-cream? Unless we’re talking this cake recipe. Then I totally get it.

I rarely create an original recipe, I taste-test. King Arthur Flour made this one, the Chocolate Fudge “Blackout” Cake. As a devoted cake mix girl, it takes a lot for me to consider making a cake from scratch – especially one with three layers of different chocolate.

This one? Oh my heavens. It made me look real good.

Summer epiphany: when you’re actually home and demanding a SLOW summer, you have time to make a cake! And while time is still a precious commodity, some cakes demand to be made. THIS ONE.

Upon taking a bite, my husband, the critic of all food critics, pretty much melted into a puddle onto the floor. I’ll be making it again.

And with strawberries just coming into season, they are the perfect addition to this lusciousness.

King Arthur didn’t have strawberries in the original recipe – that’s my contribution. We like it! Also, I eliminated the optional espresso powder b/c I didn’t have it – still good! Would you like a bite? I suggest making the three different chocolates (not hard) the day before and assembling the day of – then you can relax and enjoy the cake of your labor…

Hurry up now! Before you lose your nerve…make this cake!

Chocolate Fudge “Blackout” Cake

FILLING

  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

CAKE

ICING

  • 1 1/2 cups chopped semisweet chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream

Instructions

  1. To make the filling: Place the chocolate chips, salt, and sugar in a blender or food processor and pulse until finely ground.
  2. Add the egg and pulse just until the mixture is smooth.
  3. Heat the cream to just below a boil, with small bubbles forming around the edge of the saucepan (or microwave-safe bowl).
  4. Turn on the blender or processor, and slowly add the cream. Scrape down the sides of the container if necessary. Add the vanilla and pulse to blend.
  5. Pour the pudding into a shallow bowl, and refrigerate it until chilled and thickened, 2 hours to overnight. I found that overnight works best. Still not setting? Stir in gelatin.
  6. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease two 8″ x 2″ round cake pans. Line them with 8″ parchment circles, if desired, and grease the parchment; this step will ensure your cake’s crumble-free turnout from the pan.
  7. To make the cake: Whisk together the dry ingredients.
  8. Add the eggs, oil, and vanilla; beat on medium speed for 2 minutes, scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl.
  9. Stir in the water; the batter will be thin.
  10. Pour the batter into the two prepared pans.
  11. Bake the cakes for 35 to 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  12. Remove the cakes from the oven. Cool them for 15 minutes, then turn them out of the pans to cool completely on a rack.
  13. To make the icing: Combine the cream and chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl or in a saucepan. Heat until the cream is steaming and showing small bubbles around the edge.
  14. Remove the chocolate/cream from the microwave or burner, and stir until the chocolate is melted and the mixture becomes completely smooth, with no lighter areas remaining visible.
  15. Refrigerate the icing for 30 minutes (I went longer). Beat the chilled icing briefly, until it thickens a bit and becomes spreadable.
  16. To assemble the cake: Cut the domed tops off both cake layers; these will become your crumb coating.
  17. Place one layer on a serving plate. For best presentation, lay strips of parchment around the edge of the plate before laying the cake on top; these will catch the inevitable icing drips, and can be removed once you’re done icing the cake.
  18. Top the cake with the filling, spreading it evenly to the edges.
  19. Center the second layer of cake atop the filling.
  20. Spread the icing over the top and onto the sides of the cake.
  21. Crumble the reserved cake, and gently press it onto the top and sides of the assembled cake.
  22. Serve immediately, or within a couple of hours. For longer storage, refrigerate. This cake is best served the same day it’s made, or within 24 hours. Freeze, well-wrapped, for longer storage. You may also choose to freeze individual slices — for those times when you HAVE to have a piece of chocolate cake!

Enjoy!

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Manure Made My Lunch, Dishwashers, and the Secret Life of Children

Here’s what a dishwasher taught me: living without is a great child-rearing technique. Even if it makes mom want to pull her hair out.

I’ve tested this theory out before. The Chinese Stir-fry taught me to Beware of Being too Nice. Because for every nice thing you do for your children, they will punish you for it. How jaded! I’m sorry, but it’s true. It’s really best not to try and be Super Woman all the time. It’s really not good for the children.

Next time you lie in bed eating chips ahoy cookies, tell yourself it’s all for the sake of the kids.

Since we live in the land of PLENTY, raising grateful darlings sometimes takes broken appliances. Let’s cue “The Dishwasher Lesson.” Back to that in a second.

My brother-in-law, Brendaen turned 40 awhile back. And since he loves New Hampshire like no other, his amazing wife, Jill, pulled off an epic kidnapping straight from the big city of Boston.

They pulled into the driveway, dropped off four children with our four children (7 girls, 1 boy, 1 dog, 8 chickens, 2 fish!) and we skedaddled faster than you can say, “Happy Birthday, Brendaen!”

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But first we read happy birthday notes and memories compiled in a book. Best present EVER.

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And then we were out of here!

cousins

We left the angel children together as they smiled sweetly, hugged, and played the game of Life.

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We adults headed North, toward Vermont. We visited Dartmouth, Gregor’s alma mater. We found his thesis in the archives. We oohed and ahhhed.

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We went to King Arthur Flour in White River Junction, Vermont. I had to resist buying out every imaginable type of flour and donut-making cookbook. Oh, it was hard.

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And even though it was his birthday, Brendaen insisted on stopping to look at dishwashers. Because really, is there anything more fun than installing your brother’s dishwasher? You see, we’d been living without for almost six months!

I know. It was painful and eye-opening and made me realize how spoiled we are. The longer we went without, the more my children pined over the good ol’ days when they loaded dishes into an appliance that magically washed their dishes for them! They forgot they had once whined and fought over who’s turn it was, and how much work it was to put a fork in a plastic tub.

They relived the days of ease, when they didn’t have to hand wash dishes like orphan Annies supervised by Miss. Hannigan (That would be me.) Cope began asking for a dishwasher for her birthday.  And please, please, please, could you just make it an early delivery?

Oh believe me, it was a pain for me too. It took time. Every morning I washed, rinsed and dried by myself. Sometimes I caught myself enjoying the slow process to think, look out the window and observe a turkey flock. It was so quiet, me and my Joy bubbles. And when the kids did dishes with me, I began to enjoy the process of handing soapy dishes to a child’s hand and watching them rinse and stack. The slowness made us talk!

Was living without actually…a good thing?

A dishwasher began to look luxurious.

And I needed me one of those things.

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We mulled dishwasher choices (there are SO MANY!), and then headed up to Lake Champlain. What a gorgeous lake. If you’re ever up in these pahts, you can put your vehicle on a ferry to cross over into New York and make your way through the adirondacks. This is definitely going on the to-live list!

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Good morning, Vermont! We stayed in a hotel where I didn’t have to do any dishes, cook any meals, do any laundry, or nag someone to take out the trash. Glorious. And it occurred to me that life was good b/c of the rarity of this situation. Living without these luxuries made me ever so grateful for them.

And I still loved the kiddies.

Through phone conversations, the kids appeared to be getting along splendidly, with visits and supervision from Grandma and Grandpa. We thought about leaving them on their own for a few weeks, but alas, all good things must come to an end. But not before gorging on the best meal of the year at Hen of the Wood, a farm to table restaurant. It was out of this world amazing!

Beware:  you may pass the kitchen out back and find some hanging pigs. It’s real food, man!

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A leisurely drive back home brought us to Shelburne Farm School. Beautiful.

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I’m going to hang this sign in my house: “Manure Made My Lunch Today!” It’s real food, man!

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Another stop for food at the Red Hen Baking Company. At this point, we should have just started running home. Who needs a minivan when you’ve ingested that many carbs?

And then…we bought the dishwasher, marked down, with Brendaen’s superior negotiation and deal-finding skills.

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The best part of the trip may have been the children’s expressions – A DISHWASHER!!!! THANK YOU THANK YOU! You’re the best parents in the WORLD!!! It’s all I WANTED FOR MY BIRTHDAY! ALL MY DREAMS HAVE COME TRUE! Let’s give Cope a minute to cry, here.

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It was B’s birthday and he still insisted on staying to install it. I mean, he’s a keeper, you know?

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Brothers. As young as ever! 40 is 40 and it’s lookin’ pretty darn good.

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Good-bye dear city cousins! Please come back and play again! We’ll play Life and tell stories and play in the woods and collect chicken eggs and go to church and be perfectly kind, obedient, cheerful, and reverent the next time our parents decide to leave us in the woods.

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Driving into the sunset. Sniff. Back to real life. And dishwasher loading.

nellie

 

This picture surfaced days later…what really went on when the parents were away we’re not sure. There are tight lips, shifty eyes, secret giggles. Something about “the roof.” They aren’t saying much. But it somehow involved running in snow without clothes…

We’ll just leave it at that.

Because we have a dishwasher (giddy!)

 

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On This Day

On this day, 13 years ago, I became a mother for the second time.

Nellie Mak was in such a hurry to come into the world, that the doctor had to be hauled out of the shower, with shampoo still in his hair. His mother was ever so anxious to hold the new arrival. What a sweet, perfect creature.DSC_0003With the same sort of mohawk he wears today. That baby grew and he grew and he grew. Until he was suddenly 13 years old and the picture of suave.DSC_0009 He’s the bow tie boy, courtesy of sister-in-law Kimmalee, etsy designer of the cutest bow ties around!DSC_0010He’s handsome and smartDSC_0015Has a mischievous sense of humorDSC_0020 Just like his dadDSC_0027 He’s a little GQ at the momentDSC_0029

A little less dramatic than his sisters. An inventor of all things conceivably made of duct tape.DSC_0038He’s a boy who has a strong sense of right and wrong. He likes to follow the rules, and often, quietly bows his head in the restaurant before he eats, when the rest of us are already digging into the fries.

My itsy bitsy baby waby is getting biggy wiggy.

I asked him, “How does it feel to be celebrating the very last day of your childhood?”

He thought about this and then said, “Since it’s the last day of my childhood, dear mother, how about you buy me these basketball socks?” Then he batted his eyes. I caved.

When eldest became a teenager, I had to learn a whole new vocabulary. Some favorites: Whatevs, Delish, Ew, Gorg (gorgeous), Totes (totally), SupAwk (super awkward), OMG!

Just to name a few.

And now there shall be two teens. Whatevs, it’ll be Ew sometimes, but mostly Delish, not SupAwk. Cause he’s, like, Gorg, and OMG! not Ew. Totes.

He just looked at me and said, “When I get home from school tomorrow will you help me set up a Facebook account?”

IDK.

Totes giving you permission to spy on the boy. Deal?

Love him so, that boy of mine. Happy Birthday, Nellie Mak!

 

 

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Lucky Number Seven

I was just going to say Happy Birthday.

But you know how it goes…you go to find one picture, and you find a thousand? A thousand faces, moments, memories that seem to have rushed by in one quick blink.

That’s why I love blogs; they’re a record of life. They capture stories and moments that you want to matter to someone. I sometimes wonder if my children will read this blog when they get older. (Will blogs exist in ten years???) Will they know they were loved as much as smoothies? Let the record show: YES.

Two years before I started blogging, my last babe was born. My Pidgey was a “surprise” baby, and there isn’t a day that goes by when I’m not thankful for surprises.

She was loved from the start.DSCN0049_2She had many mothers. And a boy that serenaded her.

snakeShe tolerated her siblings very well, even when they put snakes around her neck.

flowers She used to be so small, walking through flower gardens taller than she was.

style

Our girl always had a great sense of style.

dishwasher Even when eating food out of the dishwasher. (Um, is that a knife?)

eatingShe was a little messy at times, but hey, aren’t we all?

IMG_1482She’s always beens such a big helper.

halloween She helps her mama do hard things (wait, is that princess making a gang sign?)

girls And mama sometimes makes her do hard things.

chickens Feeding chickens in winter is hard. But my girl knows how to persevere.

sibsAnd how to take naps in snowbanks.

paigeNow she does all sorts of hard things. She goes to school, ties her shoes, makes her own sandwiches, and learns her piano notes.

She’s a dancer…motherhood

barbies

She’s very inventive, and figures out solutions to hard problems. For instance, “How can my Barbies dry quickly?”

rabbit

She looooves animals.

DSC_0747 And man, she’s just so cute.

reach And when she looks back at this blog, I hope she’s still reaching.

world And knows that she’s part of something very big and very wonderful.

267A child casts a wide net. But this girl, she captured us all. We love her so.

And man, I’m holding on tight.

Happy Birthday, sweet Pidge!

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Boy Becomes Man and a Watermelon Cake Smoothie

What would you like for your birthday, boy?
Hashbrowns and Crepes, please.
In bed.

This shall count as a very good Mommy moment; I actually woke up early to COOK instead of throwing toast at them before they went out the door.

Crepes take the cake

12.  A significant birthday
Boy becomes man?
What could we get the boy?

Grandma suggested we turn the question around.  “Now that you are 12, what are YOU going to do for US?”

I thought of Indian warriors, knights, ceremonies.  Perhaps he was supposed to kill his first bear.  What makes a boy a man?

He started with bonfire and his very own rendition of the Haka.

Respect for our family and our ancestors

We stand on this field, ready for battle
At our backs we feel the might of tradition, remembering to honor family and all ancestors who have gone before

Over our hearts,…we bear the emblem to die for

This challenge is now turned to you.  Nelson.

The boy’s recorded haka will be coming soon, to a blog near you.

First we must kiss

My favorite present?  A photo book, made from Shutterfly.  I have felt great stress over the lack of time and energy there is to make scrapbooks for each child.  It became so overwhelming that I just stopped.

There are file folders of collected pictures and momentos since Nelson was born, but no books past his first birthday.  A major achievement? One family book each year.

This year I decided to bag the guilt, and make the digital scrapbook.  I don’t have digital prints before age 3, but I started there.  A tradition is born.  

I caught him looking at it several times over the last week.

We went down memory lane, looking at the baby book I carefully put together so many years ago.  Carefully picked out paper, photo stickers, pens, scissors…I’m glad I did it, though I can’t bear the thought of making any more by hand.

We were so excited to have a boy 

We lived in a dormitory as dorm parents to 12 boys.  They thought he was pretty darn cool.

Cope loved her baby brother

Mama loved her little frog

What better gift for a father?  More babies!  Look how young we look!

Mama loves

I love how simple Shutterfly is.  The deals are great and it’s easy to drop pictures in and add text.  While we looked at this book, Gregor said, “Amy, you are taking pictures of pictures.”

I know, I can’t help it.  I have a serious camera problem.  But this is a good problem.
When we ask our boy what he’s going to do for us, this is one of them.  His latest duct tape invention:  A bag to hold his duct tape.  He begged me for weeks to please take him to Joanne Fabrics to get a 18″ zipper.  And then he made the duct tape bag with a zipper!

Perhaps there are duct tape college scholarships?
He wanted to have a Hunger Games party.  “No,” I said.  “You are not going to invite your friends over and pretend to kill each other.”  We finally compromised.  His wonderful friend made him a wicked cool Hunger Games cake.

And then for TWO AND A HALF HOURS straight, they whacked each other with swimming noodles.  The WHOLE time.  Great party.  Easy party.  Girl and Boy party!
Age 12 is a meaningful birthday as Nelson can now pass the sacrament at church, in a white shirt and tie.  He will have greater service responsibilities, reaching out and blessing the lives of others.  He will sound the trump, proclaiming peace and love to all!  

We celebrated with a watermelon cake made by his most magnificent grandmother.

Is that the best cake or what?

We are blessed by those who have come before
And have taught us well – to love and serve
This I believe, is how to have true joy

I think it’s time to eat that cake now.

And then the next morning we had Watermelon Cake Smoothie
Watermelon
Granny Smith Apple
Strawberries
Cantaloupe
Honey Dew Melon
Blueberries
Water
Protein Powder

And hey – there was some leftover Lettuce from dinner
Add it!

Oh.  Wow.

Happy Birthday, Boy! 

We love you.  And not just because you gave us a Watermelon Cake Smoothie.

The world looks brighter with you in it.

We believe in you.  Haka!

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Pregnant With Twins: Happy Birthday Petey Pie

Miles Run While Pregnant With Twins:  0
I’m not pregnant with twins.  But I always wish I had been!
This is my very pregnant mother 38 years ago.  Married at 19,  twins at 20.  The best part of this story is that she did not know she was going to have twins until I was born first.  The doctor said there was only one baby.  My mother thought I would be a monster boy, but alas, a wee girl baby emerged and the doctor said, “There’s another one in there.  Maybe two.”

And then fat Pete was born and that was all.  And we were twin babies.  Two for the price of one!

The doctor had to buy the whole floor ice-cream for being sooo wrong.

I was quite battered and bruised; Petey-pie kicked me a lot.  He says he was a gentleman and let me come first, but the evidence suggests he just kicked me out.  I was born ten minutes earlier, so I have always been the boss.

My mother took a look at me and said, “That’s a face only a mother could love.”  My father was very offended.  And I still am.

And then they marveled at their creations and took us to our first home:  A blue trailer in a lovely trailer park in Orem, Utah.  “Lindsey” was put on the birth certificate, but later changed to “Amy.”  I always thought Lindsey was better; I was one of many, many, Amys.

They always said we came together for a reason and this is definitely true.

We needed to nap together as babies, be playmates and destroy the house together as two-year-olds, confuse people by switching names…darn!  We could never do that.  But Petey needed someone to shoot his bb gun at.  I needed someone to politicize with – “Twin Power” was our campaign slogan.  We won with doublemint gum!

We were born on George Washington’s birthday and were almost named George and Martha.  Oh geez.

My mother was tired all the time, but always beautiful.  She had to drop out of nursing school, but still finished her bachelor’s degree.  

Four months after we were born my mother became pregnant with my sister.  Whoopsie!  We were really like triplets.  More messes!  Triple the fun!  My mother was more tired.  So I raised Andrea.


This is when Peter was stubborn and took off his shoes and rolled up his pants at Olan Mills Photography.  The picture went on.  My little girls wear this red dress that I once wore.  I don’t know what happened to Peter’s pants or shoes.

I have many pictures of us together but they are not digitalized…a worthy project looms.

Peter was shy; I was chatty.  I think we’re both a mix now.

The elementary school would never let us be in the same class b/c they were afraid of competition (?), but I always thought it would have been great fun.

Once Peter was hit by a car on the way to school.  We were in third grade.  My teacher told me I could go see him so I went to put my coat on, but then he changed his mind and I had to come back to class.  I wanted to be brave and run out of the school and find my twin!  But I was too scared of getting in trouble.  With my hand on my heart I said the pledge of allegiance with the rest of the class, weeping, and looking out the window, trying to see my brother.

We both live on the east coast, but hundreds of miles apart.  But I can still read his thoughts.  For instance, right now he’s thinking, “That Amy sure didn’t deserve to have that burrito thrown at her head.  That fight was all my fault.”  Am I right, huh?  He made it up to me by driving me to Ames, Iowa to see my first U2 concert…Oh, so many memories…

This morning Petey-pie is on a general surgery rotation performing a bariatric and transplant surgery and I am reading Dick and Jane.  Perfect.

Today we are 38.  And there has never been a day when I didn’t love being Peter’s twin.

Happy Birthday, Petey-Pie.  I love you! 

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The Epic Pig Roast

One more birthday post for the year.
Gregor has the last birthday of the year in our family.  This year was a big one….40!
Thanks to Brendaen, Gregor’s younger brother by 18 months, who put this video together for us.  And for all the family and friends who were super sneaky to make his day a true SURPRISE!

And yes, that is a pig.  Sold to us by a pig vendor.  Who knew there were such jobs?

We love you Daddy Gregor, aka Mr. Darcy, The Professor, G-Baby, G-Money, GG, Gerg, Cupcake, Loverboy.  May the next forty be ever in your favor.

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Happy Birthday, Ernella!

Our little brother, Eric, is 33.  On this special day we acknowledge
 33 reasons to love Ernie:

1.  We got to have a baby we could dress up in tutus, bribe, and blame for throwing rocks at Jeff

2.  You sing Neil Diamond with your sisters-in-law

3.  Because of you we all got to quit piano early
4.  You’ve never tried to suppress that inner two-year-old

5.  You carry some heavy loads with grace



6.  And have a surprising smattering of gray hairs

 
7.  You inspired the whole world when you wrote, The Rose

8.  You inspired Gregor to buy a Vitamix when you roasted him this summer

9.  Everyone laughs when you come into the room.  In a good way.


10.  Taught us how to wear mom down when she said No.

 11.  You used to come visit us



12.  You’ve always let Gregor know he’s your favorite

13.  You can still belch the ABCs

14.  You made us want to believe in The Hoff too

15.  You’re uber-competitive

16.  You’re a graceful loser


17.  You always knew just how to tick Peter off

18.  You’ve never let Patrick feel like he’s “all that”

19.  We had to move from our childhood home after all the pee you put down the air vents.  Luckily, it was a better house.

20.  You rock the “metro man” title

21.  You inspired little buddy in all sorts of ways


22.  You let him shoot a beebee in your leg

23.  You loosen The Professor up

24.  Your patriotism is unmatched

25.  You managed to get that beautiful Cassie to marry you and stay with you

26.  Your Husker pride makes all us cornfed folk proud.  Even though you didn’t let Gregor crash your Husker party this fall.

27.  You bring out the cheerleader in all of us

28.  We’ve never known anyone who loves to be a bigger dork.  And that’s said with the most affection.

29.  The children you torture can’t seem to get enough

30.  Doesn’t this just say it all?

                           31.  What we meant was, doesn’t this say it all?

32.  We hear you even go to an office and practice law.  But that might just be a rumor.

33.  There’s a little boy who wants to be just like you.  And a baby girl who is going to call you Daddy this month.

Happy Birthday, Eric.  It is what it is (wink wink).  We think you’re a pretty swell guy.
Hope this year is the best year yet.
Love, us, from everywhere.

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A Birthday for Brynnie-the-Pooh

You are eight!
Isn’t that great?
Grandma is the best when it comes to exploding cakes with real sugared pansies.
I don’t even try to compete.

And Barbara from the kitchen made Brynne a fairy house.  How cool is that?  She bought the little basket, rocks, fairies, then planted real plants.  I thought, oh my goodness, she knows exactly what my little girl wants.  I was a little jealous my presents weren’t as cool or creative 🙂
Idea totally stolen from Shawni, but it’s hard to beat how cheesy mine was.  Brynne loved it because she loves cheese as much as her mother.
A foggy birthday morning, sent to school with braids and alligator boots.

And then the sun came out and she waited and waited for Daddy to come home to his birthday girl.

Yea!  Daddy is home.  Can I have my presents now?

Of all the things she got, you know what her favorite was?  
Her scriptures.
We are Mormon, and at 8-years-old, you can be baptized.  Sometimes I don’t like to write about this on my blog because I think people don’t understand or they won’t be nice but sometimes I think I should write about it more because we should all understand each other more.  It’s been in the media so much, sometimes great stories but often, not.  And I wonder how any journalist with any credentials can get away with the things they print.  Tangent.  Back to nice day with birthday girl.
It was fun to talk about baptism the last few months with Brynne.  It was fun to take her to a Catholic Mass with our friends in Rhode Island.  I loved it.  The sermon was great, the music was fun, made me want to clap-my-hands for all the Jesus lovin’.  I want to expose to my children to all different religions.  How can we decide without seeing other choices?  We talked about what baptism really is, what it means to “take upon you the name of Christ,” how we treat others, what is truth?  In our family we give each child a set of their own scriptures, The Bible and The Book of Mormon, so they can read for themselves.
The other day Paige looked up at me in amazement and said, “We’re Mormon?!!” 
Brynne deliberated many weeks on what exactly she wanted her scriptures to look like, deciding on which color, what size, button up or not?

And then she thumbed through them carefully by herself, admiring the thin paper and indexed tabs. Of all the good books, these are the ones I hope she loves best.

And then she wanted blueberry pie.  I even made the crust.  I know, I know, I’ll modestly accept the Mother-of-the-Year-Award.
The very day after Brynne’s perfect birthday, her brand new pet fish flopped over and died.  There was great sobbing.  All I could think was, thank goodness it didn’t die on her birthday!  As a show of camaraderie, Paige’s fish died the day after that.  This I understood, with her Darla-like love for “Violent.”  Thankfully, Cope still had her fish and gave it to Brynne, You can have mine.  I don’t really want it.  So eloquently said…but we were happy because Brynne was.  All was well again.

Love you, Brynne.
The other day Gregor and I were listening to a song on the radio – that one that everyone’s singing – This is crazy, here’s my number, so call me maybe.  It’s so catchy I’m even annoying my children.  We heard the singer’s interview on NPR and she said the lyrics, I missed you before I met you, were about her boyfriend and I thought about my husband, how true that line is, and about my children.  
Brynne.  I missed you before I met you…you were not a surprise…I had to fight for you, girl! xoxo.
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The Latest, the Greatest, Inventions of NellieMak

Hey, if I were the Great Gatsby, I’d say, “Happy birthday, old sport!”  
If I were your mother, I’d say, “Happy birthday, Nellie-Bell!”  Because that’s what I’ve been calling you since you were born.
This boy has been at it again.  His duct tape business is thriving.
Nellie has this rap called, I hate your cat, I love my dog.

A new duct tape vest with sword holders

The Snitch
He actually SOLD these at school under his new brand, MNel.  I personally like, NellieMak.  He sold these duct-tape wallets for $7.50 EACH!  But he was mad that one boy only had $6.50 on him, so he had to take it.  I’m expecting a call from the school telling me it’s a school crime to buy, sell, or trade on school grounds.  

He also makes really good Star Wars pancakes

And a wicked good fire
This weekend he made finger gloves out of duct tape and then told me about two boys who had to make a duct tape boat to float in while sharks circled.  
We love our boy, forever, duct tape or not.

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