When I was a kid, my family had a tradition. It all started when my mom had a birthday cake from Dierbergs. I'm not quite sure exactly how the story goes, but family lore seems to agree that my mom licked some of the frosting with her finger. It was her cake, after all. One of my siblings saw that and decided it was time to dig in. With his hands. Thus, the Dierbergs cake tradition was born. Dierbergs cakes must be consumed with hands only--utensils are not even optional.
Growing up my mom usually made my birthday cakes, but from time to time we would get a Dierbergs cake for some reason and dutifully follow tradition. Then I graduated high school, moved away, and haven't lived in close proximity to Dierbergs for several years. It's been a long time since I had a Dierbergs cake.
Last July when I visited Idaho and Utah to defend my thesis, I proposed a family birthday party. Three cousins, including Ella, have birthday within one week of each other in July, so it seemed like a good excuse to get together. And even though we didn't have a Dierbergs cake, my sister in law did some doctoring of the cake decorations and managed to write Dierbergs on the cake. So we had to follow tradition.
We had all the kids wash hands with soap then put them all on a tarp in the back yard. We explained the rules. Birthday kids get first swipe then everyone else could dig in. Hilarity ensued and great fun was had by all. The adults enjoyed a triple layer chocolate cake (with plates and forks) while the kids reveled in permissable food play. When the cake was finally demolished, only Ella was left primly sitting on the tarp with barely a hint of frosting on her face. The kids had a bawl and I wouldn't mind carrying on the tradition. Enjoy the evidence of the fiasco--unless eating with hands grosses you out. In that case, look away now.
We have heard great things about Naples, FL and since it's only 2 hours away from us, we decided to head over when Blair had a day off of work. It was pretty hot but we had a great time. We hung out at the beach and played in the sand for a while. Ella loved the beach in Naples because the water is so much more calm than on the beaches near us. The sand is also finer and whiter. When we needed a little break from that we spent some time walking around in the shopping district.
We cooled off by having dinner in a little greek restaurant then headed back to the beach to watch the sunset from the pier. It was a beautiful sunset and we struck up some good conversation with the locals. We even saw some dolphins while we were at the end of the pier. Too bad I didn't break out the camera until the end of the day when we were back a the beach to watch the sunset. We loved Naples and definitely plan to go back!
We took our first real family vacation in August when we went to Key West for 3 days. Even though there were heavy rains for much of the trip (thanks to a tropical storm that eventually dispersed) we had a fabulous time! I didn't have my camera out for most of the trip, but I did manage to snap a few shots at the beach and when we went to the butterfly house.
We went to the beach the first morning we were there and it was a bit overcast. We didn't mind at all, though, because that meant we had the beach practically to ourselves! The water was warm and there was a slight breeze. It couldn't have been a more perfect time!
And here's my baywatch babe
While there we ate at some fabulous restaurants (I want to go back just for the shrimp quesadilla I had), walked around a lot, admired the architecture, and enjoyed the butterfly house. That was Ella's second favorite part (the beach was her favorite). We ended out trip with the obligatory chocolate covered key lime pie on a stick. Delicious!
For the Fourth of July this year Ella and I were in Idaho with family so I could defend my thesis and finish my paperwork for my Master of Science degree. Blair had to stay home for work, so he missed Ella's first encounter with snap crackers:
She thought they were great and whined a little when they were all gone. But she stopped when Uncle Kimball started lighting other things on fire.
And she got to eat a cookie.
And things were great until the really loud ones started
But all in all, it was a success and she talked about "fifo-verks" for a few weeks after the big event. I'm sure she'll love to see them again next year, too!