Sunday, September 20, 2009

Polish Cupcakes

Alicia Hume is, like, my hero. Totally. A little over five years ago, I was sitting with Alicia and Miles at Surin West in Five Points, Birmingham after playing tennis together at UAB. They were high school sweethearts and had been married for five years at that time. I was single and happy that a “couple” would hang out with me—typically, the single girl has a plague of some sorts that couples can smell from miles away and know to stay clear. Not the Humes. They were living life to its fullest, full of laughter and Polish moonshine. Alicia is from Poland—way over there. Miles is a born and bred Alabama boy. Somehow, they make it work, and they make it work well.

During this dinner five years ago, I quizzed the Humes about having kids. They were such a happy couple—kids seemed natural. Any other couples that I knew had a baby within the first three years of marital bliss. Why not the Humes? They laughed at me and said that they were not ready for kids. No way. They said something like, “maybe in five more years.” Ha. HaHA!

About a month later, it was revealed that the Humes had a fun night together where they invited moonshine (which is made in Poland by Alicia’s mother, God bless her) into their evening and thought it would be funny “to try.” This means they didn’t protect themselves from what could possibly be. And what happened? Twins. Boom! Just like that. Lucky Humes. Alicia didn’t even have the special short-term disability insurance that women can get when they plan to have a child in the near future. This was a surprise. And what did they do directly after having two surprise twins—they had another boy directly afterwards. This often gives strangers the impression that they’re looking at triplets. Not so. Jacob and Joseph are the twins with Johnny bringing up the rear about a year behind.

Now that it is five years later, I still get to enjoy the company of the Humes—even though we don’t have kids. The Humes are equal opportunity friends. They don’t care if you fit into their particular dynamic—they are good people. I love the energy that Alicia’s three boys bring into any room. They are sweet and respectful little boys who compliment you and make you feel good. They are matter-of-fact and always ask before touching anything. They immediately storm into our house and look for the toys that they know we keep in a green crate in the living room. They remember the puppet and Transformers collections from the housewarming. They are ever curious, and I love that.

On Friday night, we had cupcake night at our house. Alicia and the Hume boys came flooding through the door, filling our home with questions, laughter, and heads poking into every corner of our house. Jacob put the crayons to good use, and Joseph quickly located all Transformers scattered around the house. Johnny brought up the rear, following his brothers and trying to do whatever they did. After locating all the toys and making sure they were used well, I showed the boys their aprons. I made the aprons the night before so that I wouldn’t have to guess who was who. It was so much better than silly old nametags.

The boys were quickly put to work cracking eggs. Each boy got to crack two eggs into the cake batter. We went in order with Johnny starting first. They loved the banging and cracking, and I dug eggshells out of the cake batter. Each boy got a wooden spoon and mixed up the cake with firm instructions not to lick the spoon yet. Two spoons were confiscated when those direct orders were ignored in light of sugar and yum being before them. They did a good job—and they loved it. Their attention was devoted to their baking task. Then, I brought out the mixer! I had power—I’m almost certain they thought I was cool. Surely.

The boys were in charge of spooning the cake batter into the cupcake cups that Johnny had arranged in the cupcake pans. Joseph, who informed me very sweetly that his name was not Joey when I presented him his apron, admitted that spooning the batter into the cups was hard work. But he kept trying. The boys had a great idea—they asked before implementing their master plan. They asked if they could mix the strawberry and yellow cake. Of course! Genius plan, boys! That gave them a second wind and they almost completed the entire task. Alicia and I followed by ensuring each cupcake was completely filled with cake batter. Into the oven!

While the cupcakes baked for 18-20 minutes, I mixed up the icing colors. The wonder of each boy as I took a bowl filled with white icing mixed it to blue, yellow, green, purple, red, and orange was the cutest thing. Every time, they exclaimed, “oh, wow! It’s turning color!” I was a magician. I was all-powerful and the color-giver. I made up little parchment icing bags and filled each, adding a rose tip to the lavender bag. The boys got to test the cupcakes at 18 minutes with a toothpick to see if they were ready. They were the best little helpers ever.

When the cupcakes were ready and slightly cooled, we began to ice them. I put a sloppy rose on each cupcake and wrote their names, being sure to give Joseph his proper name. The boys ate their first cupcakes and then waited patiently for the next one to be decorated. They ate them as fast as I could decorate. Alicia learned a thing or two and decorated a cupcake for Miles, who was waiting at home for his sugar crew to return.

As Alicia drove the boys home, Joseph told her “I think I will see them again tomorrow. That was fun!” Today, I’ve heard that our house is now officially called “the cupcake house.” Awesome. It is so much fun to bring happiness so easily. Kids are easy. I like that.


Alicia said...

Silly Girl, I am nobody's hero... but you are my boys' Cup Cake Hero...
They -really- had a good time and could not stop talking about it all weekend. You should see them yelling "I am good at cracking eggs!!!" which is something I've successfully avoided until we visited the "Cup Cake House"!
Sorry for the cheap wine, I guess I am a cheap drunk :) I enjoyed it!

Jeremie said...

The CupCake House on WereWolf Lane. Love it. The boys are getting so big. They'll be driving Alicia over to the Cupcake House soon.

Alicia said...

Until then, they are just driving me nuts Jeremie. I hope all is well in Virginia :)