My birthday is just two days away, and I am, of course, very excited. Recently, a coworker said she thought birthdays are silly things to get excited about. Well, that’s her problem. I LOVE THEM. I love my birthday. I love Tim’s birthday, and Marco’s birthday, and all of my friend’s birthdays. Its a day out of the year where we say, “Hey! You are you, and that is awesome! Here, have some cake.” What is not to love about this?
Also, sometimes, there are presents. Like I said, what is not to love? Here are a few items I’m wishing for:
My potential perfume! I like to switch up my scents every few years, and this one has made the cut. I ran out of Balenciaga Paris a few weeks ago and I feel naked.
Ash ‘Titan’ boots
TOMS ‘Desert’ bootie in Chestnut
Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt
Silpat silicone cookie sheet. The pastry chefs at Bouchon Bakery always used these, so I know they are good.
Melie Bianco ‘Sylvana’ purse. I saw this in blue at a boutique and now I want both colors!
Tim ordered something online last week and it arrived today in a plain USPS box. Very suspicious.
I like carrots, but, really, the only time I enjoy grating them is when it’s for carrot cake. It’s one of my favorite cakes, and here in the Dickson home, we’re big fans of cream cheese frosting.
For Adrienne’s birthday, I thought it’d be a nice surprise to bake one for her (I’ve heard tell she’s a fan). It was my first time making a layer cake - usually I’ll do cupcakes or a single layer cake that barely makes it out of the oven before I slather it in frosting and shove into my mouth like you’ve never
But, all midnight noshing aside, I was excited to make this as a round layer. I started small, with just two layers.
Practicing drop stars, flowers, and swirls
Belle trying not to blow out the candles before Mommy
Let’s get layered ohh you dirty
And then we ate it and delicious cake was in my tummy. And I was so happy.
I realize I hadn’t posted about the super-deeelish cupcakes I made for Marco’s 2nd birthday party – and I think this should be remedied immediately. I’d wanted to make a dessert that Marco would love, and that would be appropriate for kids and grown-ups. Who doesn’t love Peanut Butter and Jelly?! If you don’t love this perfect flavor combination, well…let’s just say you might want to rethink your life choices.
I started with a very moist white cake – imagine dry bread with your PB & J – no bueno, am I right? So the cake had to be perfect. Eggs and milk are the secret here, folks.
Hollow out some room for that tasty strawberry jam (I prefer Strawberry preserves, but this is harder to pipe)
Ohmigosh it took forever.
Tim almost tackled me so he could eat this out of the mixing bowl.
But I managed to get the butter cream onto the cake.
results: so good I wanted to squeal for joy, and everyone at the party seemed to agree with me, especially the birthday boy, who devoured his cupcake in mere moments!
Marco’s 2nd birthday was last Sunday, but I was so busy preparing for his party that I didn’t get a chance to post this…
You, sir, are now a big 2 year old. Our little preschooler!
I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: you are truly the most beautiful boy. Those big green eyes, framed with long eyelashes…and those cheeks! Your floppy mop-top hair! That beautiful smile! Allow me to borrow a phrase from J.D. Salinger: you just knock me out.
Last week, you said “I love you, mama” and “I love you, dadda”! It will forever be the most heart-fluttering moment of my life.
You’re so smart – I have to watch you constantly because you can figure out how to do almost anything. It’s a little frightening (taking Daddy’s hammer and scrap wood to your room to ‘build’) and extremely daring (climbing out of your crib by pulling yourself with your tummy muscles onto the changing table and dropping down to the floor), but I know it’s all part of you becoming the person you’re meant to be.
You have your serious times, and when you’re cranky it’s palpable, but most of the time you are a happy, bouncy boy. You zip through the day laughing 90% of the time, so while tiring, I can’t help but enjoy every minute.
Daddy and I love you so much.
Quick recap of my birthday dinner! Holy mac, can’t believe I’m 27 already.
Heck yes, I wore a tiara.
Check out my shoes!!
Favors for the guests! Mason jars filled with gummy bears, Dutch caramel wafers, English toffee, and madeline cookies. I decorated them with ribbon and mini-chalkboards (yes, I gave out chalk, too!)
My birthday dinner took place at the 1515 Restaurant & Lounge in Walnut Creek. Food was good, and the cocktails were excellent.
I told them to act natural. Good spies they’d make, eh?
Adrienne couldn’t make it this year, so Justin acted as a placeholder. Personally, I think he should’ve worn the heels.
I had a wonderful time!! The restaurant was very cool inside, and though the food wasn’t amazing, it was good and I really liked their house-made hummus. Ooh and their onion rings were delicious!
For dessert, I’d brought cupcakes from Sift; Stud Muffin (Lagunitas beer and brown sugar cake, caramel buttercream frosting topped with bacon and fleur de sel) and Pink Champagne (raspberry and champagne cake with buttercream frosting).
We didn’t end up getting home until almost 2 am, but I was happy tired.
I love birthdays.
Yesterday was my OFFICIAL birthday, and it was fantastic!! The past week has been really enjoyable, and filled with so much love that I could burst.
Example: the balloons at my desk when I arrived at work this morning (thanks to my lovely coworkers):
and the flowers that were delivered (thanks to Timmy):
Two more days of birthday fun…can’t wait to share more fun details!
It’s my birthday week! Official birthday is the 14th – but my week of celebrations has begun!
To start it off, let’s get into the literary tomes I’ve devoured as of late.
I finished The American (die-hard Henry James fans will enjoy, but for the uninitiated, start with The Turn of the Screw or The Wings of the Dove). The story ended alright, but became muddled with melodrama in the middle.
Next, I read Swamplandia! by Karen Russell. This is a wonderful story! Description taken from the back: “Thirteen-year-old Ava Bigtree has lived her entire life at Swamplandia!, her family’s island home and gator-wrestling theme park in the Florida Everglades. But when illness fells Ava’s mother, the park’s indomitable headliner, the family is plunged into chaos; her father withdraws, her sister falls in love with a spooky character known as the Dredgeman, and her brilliant big brother, Kiwi, defects to a rival park called The World of Darkness. As Ava sets out on a mission through the magical swamps to save them all, we are drawn into a lush and bravely imagined debut that takes us to the shimmering edge of reality.”
I really liked Ava, and enjoyed the time spent with her. Russell switches from 3rd person to 1st person often in weaving together Ava’s and Kiwi’s adventures, and this does take some adjusting; it isn’t seamless. The descriptions are just lavish enough without falling into the oubliette that is J.R.R. Tolkein (OHH MY GAWWWWWDDD), and made the 1000 islands of southern Florida seem as magical and scary as Wonderland. I was a little disappointed in the conclusion, but only because I felt it ended too abruptly.
I had been recommended David Nicholl’s One Day by a bookseller in Copperfield’s, and after reading Radiator Tunes’ review of it HERE, I figured it was worth a shot – she’s one of the few people (i’ve never met her) whose book recommendations I’ll take. It was actually very engrossing. I worried it would be predictable, boring, and, worse, threaten my street cred; instead, it was witty and sweet, and I can still show my face in the indie bookstores LOL Dude, I swear, I read it IRONICALLY!
I don’t know that I’l see the movie – mainly, because the radio ads for the movie quoted Anne Hathaway as saying that the story was ‘soulful’, which is one of those words that is so cheesy, it grates on my nerves (I re-read that last sentence, and realized that I AM SO PUN-NY!).
Now, I am reading The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton. I knew the basic story of the book before reading it, as I’d seen the movie version starring Gillian Anderson (Scully!) with my mom years ago. Knowing the ending is giving the characters a sinister and/or tragic edge to their introductions, but Lily Bart is already ranking high on my list of favorite female protaganists. She’s beautiful and intelligent, but prone to bouts of rebelliousness that threaten to veer her off-course. Lily wants so desperately to be a part of the upper-class New York world, but recognizes it’s faults and hypocrisies to an extent that she sabotages her own attempts to climb the social ladder.
Not sure what I will be in the mood for next….
Wednesday night I attended the long-awaited concert at the Warfield in San Francisco. Unfortunately, Tim could not join Micaela and I in enjoying the beautiful music! He had to work really late on a phone issue, and couldn’t make it.
I started listening to Iron and Wine after I saw the movie ‘In Good Company’; the song “The Trapeze Swinger” plays during the end credits, when Topher Grace is running on the beach. After almost 10 years of enjoying Sam Beam’s music, I finally got to see him live! It was a very exciting event for me.
I couldn’t take my camera with me, but I do have a few iPhone pictures to share:
He changed up some of the songs, so that a slower tempo song became upbeat, more jazzy… Sam told us audience members that he didn’t want to just give us the songs we could listen to at home. I agreed and disagreed; I fell in love with the sounds on the album, but I did enjoy his new versions of some of my favorites! His voice was AMAZING! All appreciation I had for his recordings became heightened by the knowledge that he sounds just as good, if not better, live.
The last picture is of Mr. Beam singing “Flightless Bird, American Mouth” without accompaniment (other than a few spare notes on his guitar). I gotta tell you: I felt shivers in my spine. It was so freakin’ awesome. Thanks to Adrienne for keeping an eye on my boy while I attended the concert!
Marco’s birthday AND birthday party were a beautiful success. I cried, we all laughed, and I smooched Marco about 100000 times. I have a 1 year old child! Wow.
He looks so much like a big kid now!
Carrot cake cupcakes with low-sugar cream cheese frosting! I made these for Marco’s classmates and teachers. The recipe for the frosting called for cream cheese, butter, vanilla, and 1 whole box of powdered sugar! Ewww! I put in half the sugar, and the flavor was perfect for the carrot cake. I may share with you my super-secret-but-not-very-complicated carrot cake recipe. But I might not. We’ll see… LOL
Marco’s party was a lot of fun! We had about 28 people at our house, and they all wanted to talk to, cuddle with, and kiss the birthday boy, and Marco was a total champ! He even took a few steps for his family and friends. I’ll post more pictures of his party later.
Roux also celebrated her first birthday (May 26th), and she was happy with her very own tuna cake!
ALSO!! Our garden is doing very well, and we’re finally getting lawn in our backyard! It’s so exciting to see the green shoots. Proof of my gardening skills:
My very own strawberries! Small, but delicious. I feel like a real farmer! LOL, not exactly…but it is fun to grow my own food.
Speaking of food, I almost forgot to mention my big decision: I decided to become a full-fledged vegetarian! After 3 1/2 years of a mainly meat-free diet (chicken only – no fish, fowl, beef, or pork products), I finally took the plunge. I’ve been ENTIRELY meat-free for 2 weeks now. It’s a little difficult, but I managed! I didn’t give up dairy products, though! More power to the vegans out there, but I love cheese too much.
Phew! That’s what I get for slackin’ on the posts!
What have you been up to?? I hope you have wonderful weekends!
First, I have to tell you: you are the most beautiful boy in the entire world; not to mention the smartest and sweetest. I love absolutely every detail about you, from your perfect toes to the funny wisps of hair on top of your head.
You have your own odd sense of humor, and I love to watch you come up with your own private jokes.
You’ve recently discovered the Count on Sesame Street, and you give yourself giggle fits trying to imitate his halting, Transylvanian laugh: “AHA HA HA”.
I love that when you see me coming through the door of your classroom to pick you up, your face bursts into a joyous smile. You bounce up and down, or race across the room to get to me.
I love that you think I’m hilarious when I dance my routine to ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ (the one choreographed especially for you during your colicky days; a modern mix of ballet, air guitar, kabuki theatre, and some full on hair swishing/head banging), and that you smile big when I sing to you.
You’re super-ticklish under your armpits, and your Daddy and I take full advantage of your tickle spots!
I hope that I don’t come across too harshly when I have to tell you ‘No’. I’m sorry that sometimes I get frustrated with your inability to fully express what you need, and I hope you forgive me; I’ve never claimed patience as a virtue, but just know that your mother loves you and tries her best. I know you are learning words in your own pace. Already, you say ‘Mama’, ‘Dada’, ‘agin!’ (again) and ‘Moarrr’ (more)
You blew a kiss to me today; I caught it and put it away for a cold night. I might have wept a little.
You’re officially considered a toddler now, because you’re 1 year old, and have taken your first steps. Today, on your birthday, you stood, and took 4 steps towards your daddy, and 2 steps towards me. ALL BY YOURSELF.
I love you. I kind of worship at your feet, you little angel, so take care not to throw graham crumbs into my hair.
Happy birthday, my Marco Amadeus.
I can’t believe how grown up he is. One minute he’s a tiny baby…
…and the next, he’s a ridiculously handsome little man!
Happy 3rd birthday to our adorable boy cat, Stabler!
He eventually shared some tuna with Roux; he’s a gentleman.
Stabler and Roux checking out Stabler’s birthday present – a scratching post/apartment.
Crazy cat lady.