Ashlyn had a great first birthday party. I felt like I was just inviting a few friends, but with everyone, we had a pretty packed house. Ashlyn is used to packed houses with dinner club, though, so she didn't seem to mind. Thank goodness Mom and Dad were there to help. I really might have gone crazy, otherwise. Not because of the party, but because I somehow forgot how to bake a cake. If I was baking a cake just for myself to enjoy, it would always be chocolate. And, I really don't think that I have baked a cake in years(at least 5) that wasn't chocolate. I'm not quite ready for Ashlyn to have chocolate, yet, so I decided my little girl should have a pink cake. I found a recipe online for a doctored white-cake mix for strawberry cake. I was making a layered cake, plus cupcakes, so immediately after making one batch, I made another. The cake didn't look quite right coming out, and looked even worse a few minutes later, as it flattened. The cupcakes were already in the oven, and you could actually watch them deflate. Ok, I had started baking more than 24 hours before the party, so I had plenty of time to make another cake. I found a different recipe for strawberry cake. Again, deflated, mushy on the bottom. Apparently, we were not going to have strawberry cake, so I pulled out a recipe for white cake that I have used before, 5 years earlier at least, but I knew that I could do it. The cake itself was ok, but not that thick, so I pulled out a cake mix, made another layer and cupcakes. So, I now had layers for cake and cupcakes. I went to bed.
The next morning, I was still determined to have pink something, so I made strawberry frosting. It called for 4 cups of powdered sugar. Four pounds of sugar later, the frosting was still too runny and I was out of powdered sugar. I attempted to frost the cake. Disaster. The cake layers weren't even(they had been in pieces attempting to get them out of the pans,) the frosting was sliding out from between the layers. Disaster. I was so frustrated. As I was taking a shower, I started thinking about it, and realized that I was going to have to make another cake. I went to Safeway, bought a cake mix, and frosting. This was my last chance to make a cake for my baby's first birthday. I'd had it all planned in my head for a few weeks about how I would decorate the cake. I was not yet ready to admit defeat and buy a store-bought cake. Even though it would be straight from a box, I was still going to make this cake. So, I made the cake. They looked pretty good. They came out of the pan very easily. I just needed to fix the frosting. I took a little bit out of the now giant vat of strawberry frosting and added powdered sugar. Perfect. I frosted both layers of the cake. Much better. Then I still needed to add colors to the buttercream for the decorations. I finally finished the cake just after noon. I had started the afternoon before, but 4 cakes and 2 sets of cupcakes later, we were finished. And, I was exhausted.
Here is Paige helping Ashlyn open her present.
The party went great, I thought. Ashlyn hadn't napped that afternoon, so I was expecting a breakdown. It didn't happen, from her or any of the other kids. She wasn't interested in all of her presents (sorry if you bought clothes,) but enjoyed plenty of her new books and other toys. She didn't care about actually opening the gifts, though she did like a few bows. Paige ended up helping her out with the opening after awhile. Ashlyn ended up with more books, clothes, and toys then any one year old would ever need. But, I guess birthdays, especially when you are one, aren't really about what you need. I think everyone had a great time. My one regret (besides messing up so much cake) is not taking a group picture on the porch. I enjoyed time with friends and was excited that Heather and her boys were now back in Alaska.
Mom, Dad, Ashlyn and I before the race
As if we hadn't had a busy enough day, we had the Midnight Sun Run that night. It is a 10K race in Fairbanks that starts at 10 pm, no lights needed. People run, walk, ride unicycles, have on cosutmes. It is great fun, even just to see the beginning. I had wanted to participate other years, and was determined to do it as this would be our last opportunity. The first part was the most exhausting to me, since we were at the back of the crowd of 3000 participants. We had to weave in between people who were way to slow. Mom thought that she and Dad would like it, too. I don't know if she didn't quite catch that it would start so late, how long it was, or if she realized that her body would still be on central time zone. She was exhausted at the end. Being her stubborn self, she was not going to tell me at any point in the race that she wanted to slow down, though. But, hey we made it, in 1 hour and 45 minutes.
All the babies, Lysandra with Michael, Katie with Becca, Laura with Bo, and me with Ashlyn