I made this cake for Samuel, for his 10th birthday party, which we celebrated today at the local pool. I took a big chance, having an October party at a swimming pool, but it worked excellently! First, the weather was great, and second, the rest of the world is on to other activities at this point in the Fall, and we had almost the entire place to ourselves.
He chose a Rock and Roll theme; in a few weeks, he is going to be Brian Setzer for Halloween. (Well, if I can find a blond pompadour wig, he is. Any suggestions? Send them my way.) Last week, he decided he wanted to give his friends a song book, filled with lyrics from some of his favorite songs. So he spent lots of this past week typing the lyrics on the computer. Play, listen, pause, type. Next line: Play, listen, pause, type. It took him a long time, but it was definitely a labor of love for him. He came up with some pretty creative lyrics, too! My favorite was the line from Stray Cat Strut: "I wish I could be as caffiene wild..." (For anyone not familiar, the line is actually "I wish I could be as carefree and wild.")
He also burned CDs with some of his favorite songs, and gave these to his friends as party favors. (This was his dad's fabulous idea: why didn't I think of that?) His taste casts a wide net on the music world. His CD featured Bob Dylan (not a word, family members, not a word!), Alvin and the Chipmunks, The Stray Cats, Alicia Keys, U2, and John Fogarty (local boy!). He designed a cover for the CD case, and included a play list on the inside. It was an inexpensive, easy and fun way to give his guests a "goody" that was way more interesting than the usual cheap chotchsky crap that no one wants, no one needs, was probably produced with slave labor and gross chemicals, will end up in the landfill sooner rather than later, and may in fact be part of the reason our trade deficit is so high and our banking system is collapsing.
But I digress.
In true family tradition (my side), Sam's cake did get a little something extra added to it: Lola dropped the neck of the guitar on the sidewalk right in front of the Swimming pool. I don't think much grit got in there, but I just plopped the thing right back on the tray and pretended nothing happened. Family tradition, because we Murphy's have been known to eat patio lasagna and kitchen floor cake in our day. (If your child slaves away for an afternoon, making lasagna the slow way, and then drops it on the patio as she is delivering it to a waiting family, you scoop it up, pick out the trumpet vine, and eat the damn thing, right Katy?)
And tomorrow, our fourth child turns four. We have four birthdays in six weeks at our house, and that six weeks comes to a thundering close tomorrow. Well, not really, since we will have a little party for Elizabeth in a week or two. As the last child to celebrate her birthday in 2008, she may have to settle for one pooped out mommy who is plumb done with creative birthday party ideas. (I will be frosting another cake tomorrow...if it's "Martha-worthy" maybe I will post it.)
And I close a long day with these questions: Is it possible to have a birthday party for a child that does not render one utterly spent and useless by the end of the day? Can one throw a birthday party without losing one's mind? I really must know what is possible, so I know whether to keep on fighting the good fight...
**edited on October 13th, to add a photo of the birthday boy**