Construction cake and a year in review

Our little man, our little Felix turns one today. And what a year it's been...

A year ago right now I was nearing the end of a difficult birth, the details of which I won't outline here. Let's just leave it at "difficult". At the same time we learned that he would be the first baby born in the newly constructed wing of a local hospital, which was followed by a surprising and slightly overwhelming bit of media attention. Now it's kind of nice though, his 15 minutes of (small) fame.

A year ago today I was lying in the hospital bed looking at my new baby, bruised like Robert DeNiro on the cover of "Raging Bull" (difficult birth remember), but my thoughts were back at home and with Sophie. She was a frail little bird then. Her regression had just run its course and she was (as we all were) quite shaken up. She lost all her words and her passion for life too it seemed. She spent most of her time curled up on my lap, me holding her close. And now we were going to bring a new baby into her life. To say I was worried would be an understatement. At that point we didn't have an official diagnosis yet (that would come a month later) but we knew something was very wrong. All those thoughts swarmed in my brain as I cuddled my new bundle and stroked his bruised little cheeks.

If I could send a note to that self sitting in that hospital room a year ago it would read something like this:

Hey- It will be ok. More okay than you can imagine now. Sophie will not be the same Sophie you remember, but she will get her spark back. You will find that there are many things she enjoys and many more things she can learn. She will show you that she wants to communicate and is very capable. And Felix? He will be fine. You know what I mean. He will develop in leaps and bounds and add his own mischievous spirit to the family. And while it will be hard and there will be moments you will feel like you are failing everything and everyone, the storm will pass and the sun will come out once again. You are strong and you will learn more about yourself in this next year than you probably have in your entire life before. There will be even more to learn of course. But I promise you, at the end of the year you will find your groove, and even have fun! (Most of the time ;))

I wish i had that note then.

Ok, enough with the heavy and onto the cake portion! Felix's a "man's man" and already showing an interest in all things with wheels, bonus points for size. I found some images of construction cakes and went from there. Now, this isn't a food blog and anyway, it really isn't rocket science. Here are the basic instructions, I trust you can figure it out.

1. Bake cake (I used a gluten-free cake mix, 2 boxes, each baked in own pan).

2. Frost cake (I made chocolate buttercream frosting, sandwiched the 2 cakes and frosted all around. Oh, I evened out the sides a bit with a serrated knife and sliced off the corners before frosting)
3. Make "dirt" (crush Oreos with cleaver or in food processor)

4. Assemble! (Wash all your vehicles. Create a construction scene. Also, I used "cookies and cream" chocolate bars to make the brick wall. Cool eh? I made it up myself people)
5. Ideally, you should pipe a "happy birthday" or something along those lines. I didn't because didn't have a suitable writing implement. It was a close-friends only party, I hope they understand. But- you should :)
And that is it! A year older and wiser and ready for the year ahead.
Bring it!



Summertime and the living is... Easy?

I wish I had something more profound to say, but the sun fried my brain I think. I read other bloggers who manage to convey heart wrenching anguish or uplifting accomplishment or riot-inducing rage but I got none of that. Not in July and probably won't in August either (August is my favourite month actually, bet you didn't know that). I'm kinda mellow these days.

I think I live for summer. I can't feel bad in the heat. I can't be sad when the smell of sunscreen is in the air. I can't be feeling sorry for myself when sitting on some blanket by a wading pool watching my kids running around with a herd of neighbourhood kids... Ok well scratch the sitting. Not doing much sitting this year what with Sophie and a freshly-walking toddler under my watch. Shadowing more like. Still, there are worse things than shadowing two insanely happy wet kids I'd say.

We are fortunate to live in a neighbourhood with many wonderful (free) attractions for kids. There are wading pools, sprinklers, big pool, creeks etc, etc. We never need to be bored. I think having 3 older kids as well (2 of my own, one under my watch) and plenty other friends who like to come along make every simple outing to a park a fun event.

And Sophie? Well we are biding our time for now. I was never one of the "must teach maximum skills in minimum time" kind of parent with my older two so I am totally letting Sophie be a kid this summer. We are working on communication as usual (oh- must share this link if you're looking at AAC like we are... Very good resource right here), but mostly we are working on summer-ization. Meaning, water, sand playground, picnics with a nap somewhere in the middle. I think she is learning as much as she would anywhere else. Just this morning she walked up the steps to our apartment using alternate feet! If anybody's kiddo had physical delays you know what a big deal that is. I was holding her hand, but still.

One of the best things about Sophie (well... There are many of course) is her relatively easy-going personality. If it sounds like parenting her isn't "all that hard" in that aspect, it is not. She is content the majority of the time, she is regular with meals and naps and she adapts to new situations quite easily. The things that do make parenting Sophie hard seem to fade in the summer. Her developmental delays, her differences from her peers, her detached personality, those are not so apparent or significant when she is just one of the kids in a swimsuit and a bucket hat (or no hat, who am I kidding) knee-deep in the pool. It would take a trained eye to notice that her entry into the pool is always from the same angle or that she isn't playing like the other children but rather walks in and out of the pool in a perfectly synchronized pattern. Most people don't see past the happy grin.

Running and splashing. Splashing and running

Our days are long and wet and sandy and sunburned. At the end of the day we collapse exhausted but happy. I will write some deep, thought-provoking post someday soon... Maybe in September ;) or maybe something will come to me before that.

Stay tuned for a camping update though, we are going on August 1st for 10 days!


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