Cake walk

We’ve just concluded another successful crazy-April birthday month. The theme for Archer’s party was “ninja monkeys,” and so he had two birthday parties in one — the first at Expedition Island, where climbing walls, zip lines, rope bridges and more helped him and his guests to get their monkey on, and the second at his karate dojo for some hilarious ninja training courtesy of his multi-talented sensei Mr. Lavin. The theme for Jonah’s party was Avatar: The Last Airbender, so his was four parties in one — one for the Earth kingdom (a hike through a local park), one for the Water tribes (swimming), one for the Air nomads (jumping on trampolines at House of Air), and one for the Fire nation (practicing tai-chi-like moves with lit sparklers) — all of which prepared Jonah, the “avatar,” to “defeat” the “Fire nation” with his “airbending” skills (i.e., blowing out the candles on his cake).

Apart from putting on elaborate parties, we usually create interesting cakes to go with them. Herewith, a retrospective.

It started simply, with your basic store-bought cake with a few toys stuck on top:

But that didn’t seem quite enough, so next time we took a store-bought cake and plopped a homemade cake on top of it! (That duck is all cake. Mmm.)

I wasn’t too happy with the next effort:

…so we supplemented it with another store-bought cake, though you can see our decorations becoming more elaborate (those “rocks” are chocolate, mmm):

Our first proper theme was for Archer’s “Mr. Sunshine” party. Here’s the cake:

Jonah chose a “peace” theme for his third birthday — we were so proud! This cake is in the shape of a peace symbol, with berries filling the voids in the shape.

Archer’s next party was all about superheroes. We made a cake to look like the yellow A on his notional red “Archer-man” costume.

Next Jonah had a Peter Pan party. (The candles are supposed to make the shape of a teepee.)

For Archer’s next birthday he wanted a “monkey in the jungle” party.

Then Jonah had his Yellow Submarine party. (The cake’s in the background of this photo, with the yellow submarine on top.)

Archer then had a “put on a happy face” party.

And Jonah had his Scooby-Doo party. It was back to a store-bought cake (with our own decorations) for this one.

Another store-bought cake for Jonah’s Star Trek party.

…and also for Archer’s vaguely sea-themed party:

Archer’s ninja-monkey cake was a joint venture between us and Expedition Island:

…but Jonah’s four Avatar: The Last Airbender cakes (air, water, fire, earth) were all us:

Attack of the revenge of “in May”

Having had two children in April (on purpose), the same month that tax returns are due and that Northern California weather starts permitting, nay, demanding trip-taking and visitor-hosting, means we’re doomed to have an inhumanly busy month each year, especially since we’re big believers in hosting giant birthday parties and also since I can’t resist a complicated, well-executed April Fools prank. Leaving Danger and concluding an epic job hunt (about which more in a later post) during the same month only meant that our utterances this year of our traditional April mantra were more frequent and prompted more easily than before:

“You need to shave.”
“In May.”

“Aren’t you coming to sleep?”
“In May.”

“Can you answer the phone?”
“In May.”

Addendum: Now that it’s the first of May and it’s possible to contemplate some of the things I’ve been putting off, among the other things that start today is my latest push to reach my target weight of 150 pounds. At a pound a week I can (coincidentally) reach it exactly on my birthday.

“In May”

I was surprised to discover how tapped out I was after writing my seven-part cross-country drive saga. (Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7.) But my writing muscles are finally starting to return to fighting trim.

Now if we can just get out of April. This month includes birthday parties for both our sons, multiple visitors from out of town, the culmination of one big project each at my day job and my sideline, and taxes — all on top of the usual little excitements like flat tires, school functions, and so on.

This month is so inhumanly busy that Andrea and I have a new in-joke: “In May.” As in:

“We need to give the kids a bath.”
“In May.”


“Wanna go grocery shopping?”
“In May.”

Our May calendar, it need hardly be said, is becoming alarmingly full of things pre-empted by April events. I dread the prospect of our new in-joke being, “In June.”