Last week, I had another opportunity to bake for Icing Smiles. This time, I was asked to create a dream cake for a little boy named Josiah celebrating his 2nd birthday. Josiah was born with congenital heart defects, which meant that he had to have open heart surgery shortly after he was born. And, while he is growing and developing just like everybody else, he is not completely out of the woods. Due to his condition, he will have to have a few more heart surgeries. Having met Josiah, I can tell you that heart surgery or anything else, for that matter, isn’t going to slow down this super happy kid. I arrived at their house a few minutes before they got home from church. As soon as I got the cake out of the car, Josiah was right there at my feet yelling “happy cake!!!”. He was thrilled, and for that, so was I. Josiah couldn’t wait to touch it, smell it, eat it. I even dropped a fondant football on the floor and after having explained to his family that the fondant is pretty but not very yummy, I turned around to see Josiah chowing down on his football! It was an absolute pleasure meeting and baking for this wonderful family. I wish Josiah many more happy, healthy birthdays and fun with his loving parents, his adorable sister, and his baby brother (coming next year!).
Lest you think my talent lies only in the kitchen, I also make “no-bake” cakes!
And, while all of the adults adored Ms. E’s unicorn and rainbow cakes, this pretty much sums up her overall attitude for smashing cakes!
Meet Luke, an amazing 6 year old boy who loves Star Wars and Legos and also has cystic fibrosis.
As many of you know already, I learned about Icing Smiles when Olivia spent a little time at Children’s Memorial (now Lurie Children’s). We were lucky parents. We spent 2 grueling and seemingly endless weeks camped out at the hospital hoping and praying that all of the things they said might be wrong with her really weren’t true. Olivia is a carrier of several genetic mutations that may or may not ever affect her metabolic system, but the big scare turned out to be just that. So, when I imagined the lives of families and parents who weren’t so lucky, I longed for a way to make their lives a little bit easier or a little bit happier. For months, I have been trying to find a way to volunteer in a big way for Icing Smiles, but with all that is going on in our lives, I had to step down from the larger administrative roles that I had been asked to be responsible for. Yet, I remain on the Sugar Angel list. Sugar angels are bakers across the country who volunteer their time and donate cakes to kids who are medically fragile or their brave siblings. This was my first call to action, and as much as I would love to eradicate all childhood diseases and wipe out the reason for Icing Smiles, I know I cannot do that. So, I hope I this cake will not be my last.
Luke’s mom asked me to make a Star Wars/ Lego cake for his 6th birthday. This was a milestone birthday for them, as the average life expectancy for kids with CF used to be 5 (now it is 37). I racked my head as to how I was going to give him the best birthday cake possible. I am not much for fondant work, so I knew I was going to have to purchase the Star Wars characters. Turned out to be a great idea; Luke couldn’t wait to pull them off the cake! This was my first attempt at a fondant covered cake, and I think it turned out great. The bright colors and smooth surface really made the Legos stand out. When I walked into Luke’s home, he popped out from behind a wall and cried out, “Is that my cake?!!!??” He was literally bursting with excitement. He wanted to touch it and smell it and tell me all about his party and his light saber pretzels that his grandma made. His mom told me later that he showed everyone at the party his cake. I wish that every moment of Luke’s life could be like those 10 minutes. I’m not even going to attempt to tell you what his “short but event filled life” has been like. If you want to read more about Luke’s story and how you can help them win the fight against CF, click here. And Luke, may the force truly be with you throughout all of your life, and may you celebrate many, many more happy birthdays.
Quick shout out to another awesome baker. Julius Jonsen of Sifted Cakes did his first cake for Icing Smiles in July of this year. Check out his cakes on Facebook. Yay, Jules! You rock!
Can’t think of a better mom-to-be than my former roommate, Leslie. So much fun to make these carrot cupcakes & elephant sugar cookies.
25 weeks ago, we lost Ben’s grandmother. That very same week, we found out I was pregnant. We were elated, as I have PCOS (a fertility condition), and we had been trying for 7 months to conceive our second child. We saw it as a sign that life was renewed. 9 weeks later, our hearts were broken when there was no heartbeat on the ultrasound. I went in for a D&C, and I began the process of moving on from my miscarriage. The doctors told us to try again. So, we did. 5 weeks later, I took a pregnancy test, and it was positive. Could it be true? Not this time. Turns out, I had retained a piece of placenta, causing my hormones to remain elevated despite that fact that I was not actually pregnant. I have since had 2 shots of methotrexate (a chemotherapeutic drug which attacks the rapidly growing cells of the placental tissue) and countless acupuncture sessions. We are waiting for the pregnancy hormones to return to zero, and each week we face results that have gone up or dropped only slightly. Last week, my levels finally came down to 10. Today I went in for labs hoping this would be the last day, as I have one to three times per week for the last 2 months. We have only reached 9.5. I am devastated and losing hope. It seems this is my own personal hell that just won’t end. We cannot even begin to think about trying again until this is over, and there are already various complications in place that may make it so that we never have another biological child. I no longer no how to cope with the pain and the frustration. I know that others have a much worse situation. And, believe me, part of me feels guilty that I am even having this pity party when so many others struggle with infertility and the loss of a child. But, today, on a day that I cannot seem to find the joy in this situation, I give it up to God. And in doing so, I feel lighter and less burdened already…free to enjoy the pleasures of an afternoon cocktail, the gorgeous baby I already have, my loving husband, and my 2 crazy kitties. So, I surrender. Please, God, there is nothing else I can do to end this nightmare. Now, it’s your turn. #40DaysOfJoy