You know times flies by so quickly you tend to forget what you’ve learned and where you came from in relation to where you’re at now… the so called present. ~Heather Piper
Our little man is 11 years old today! I can’t believe it! He’s going into the sixth grade this year! As with every year, it has been a long learning lesson of patience, humility and understanding, just to name a few. Not only for Kyle but for me as well.
This year Kyle’s celebration started at the beginning of the month. We knew there was a lot going on and to make it more convenient for my sister, since she was driving back and forth, we decided to surprise Kyle with an early birthday. My sister was coming home to pick Kyle up for ‘Aunt Nikki and Kyle’s week of fun’ the first weekend of July. She was also coming home to bring him back the following weekend, since that Sunday was the Piper reunion. Instead of making Nicole drive home for a third weekend in a row we chose to throw Kyle off of his game and celebrate his birthday on July seventh. Normally we try to get it as close to his birthday as possible, but he was going to be away.
What I loved about our last minute plans was the fact that we were throwing a monkey wrench in Kyle’s itinerary. He pretty much maps out and outlines events such as this one and we are expected to follow according to his plans. I think it’s good to ‘move his cheese’ every once in a while, keeping life real.
Prior to this decision, Kyle approached me and asked me to make his birthday cake. What? Really? I was so excited! I’ve been waiting for this request since he was a baby. When I was younger my Aunt Irene, who is also my godmother used to make my cakes and I loved them! Keeping with Kyle’s personality he dictated what he wanted on the cake. Take a guess? Yep, a Lego theme. He told me he wanted to get a Lego man and put it on top of the cake, but “Not one that I already have. I want a different one.” Too much! He was ensuring through his instructions that he would end up a Lego man richer. Again, smart little man.
Well, I decided to take his challenge and do it Piper style. Instead of making a Lego scene, I made a Lego cake. By using bread pans, I made the cake and stacked them on top of one another. In order to get the interlocking tops of the blocks, I stacked Oreo cookies, before draping bright colored fondant. Admittingly, I’ve never made fondant before in my life. In theory, I’ve seen it done on TV. No matter, I was totally up for the challenge. Luckily, I was able to prep everything, including the fondant and the icing on the 4th of July. Due to time constraints, I chose to use box cake mixes, allowing me more time to spend on the decorations. As for Kyle’s name, I wanted it to look like the Lego logo.
Aside from the requested themed cake, Kyle really didn’t care about the flavor of the cake or the icing. However, it seemed that, that wasn’t the case with my sister and dad. Nicole gave me specific instructions that she would not eat chocolate cake. She said, “I won’t even eat the cake if it touches chocolate cake.” Ok, Kyle loves chocolate cake, as does everyone else in the family. I guess, I was going to make chocolate and white cake. No biggie, since I was making different ‘building blocks’ to make the cake I could do chocolate and white. While I was prepping for this big project, dad instructed me that he wanted ‘hard icing’. What the heck is hard icing? Naturally he had no idea he just knew it to taste it. So I began to Google search various icings and I started to make a few different kind, allowing dad to taste test them. The one icing we made was called seven minute icing. It was good but it reminded me of marshmallow fluff. Finally, I decided to make butter cream icing, which is one of my favorites.
After work on Thursday, I rushed home to get started on the baking and assembly. It took me a few hours to bake and roll out the fondant and assemble all the pieces together. While I was focusing, Storm must have felt left out of the action, because she walked around the house meowing. She even tried to get on top of the counter, which is not allowed in my house. I felt bad, but I had a mission to accomplish.
The plan was for Nicole to come home Friday night. I was to bring the cake down and hide it in the refrigerator in the garage. I also stopped at the store and purchased a helium tank, balloons and decorations to embellish the living-room, enhancing the celebration. Did you know we are in a helium shortage? That’s what I was told when I called the Dollar store. Most of the stores were out of helium or it was too expansive. Interesting. Anyway, right after Kyle went to bed that night, I blew up about thirty balloons and let them float about. The next morning we made sure we were up before Kyle, with the candles a blaze ready to serenaded him with Happy Birthday as he walked into the living-room. Kyle gave us a sleepy smile and seemed pleased with the change in plans.
The entire day was his, to call the shots as he wanted. And you know what he was happy doing? Yep, building the Lego’s Nicole got him. Although she did tease him a bit with the gift. She got him a girl type of Lego set. Nicole asked if he liked it and Kyle replied, “Not really. This is a horrible Lego”. We were cracking up. He exchanged the gag gift later and when the lady at Toys-R-Us asked him if anything was wrong with the package, Kyle said, “Not really”.
I know we spoil Kyle, but birthdays give us the freedom to do so without an excuse. In keeping with tradition, I also stopped by Kyle’s daycare in the middle of the day this past Thursday, with five dozen cupcakes, a small cake and a balloon to celebrate his birthday with his friends. I always get a kick out of walking around the corner of the room, holding a cake and lit candles and having all the kids sing to him. I love it! I’ve been doing that since he started going to daycare, about eight years now. Every year I choose a different treat, but this year I recycled the cupcake idea from last year. Regardless, it was still not expected. I always ask Kyle, “Where you surprised?” and he always says with complete honesty, “Ya”.
I hope Kyle has a great day and I also hope that this year is kind to him and he learns a lot. Ahh, I guess I have another year to plan and out do myself from the previous years. Kyle means so much to us and I hope he knows what an important member of the family he is. I still remember when he was born, on July 30th, holding him and telling my brother that I am going to be the coolest aunt. I don’t know if that’s true, but I’m happy to continue to celebrate Kyle’s special day with him every year.