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We have a new birthday tradition at our house that started quite by accident. As soon as they are able, the birthday kids bake their own cakes. All by themselves with very little input from me, aside from buying the ingredients.

Sunday morning I had to do a few errands and I asked the birthday child what kind of cake I should pick up at the bakery. He answered that he was going to be baking his cake himself. And not only that, he had elaborate plans that involved two layers of different kinds of cake and two different frostings.

I think I responded with, "Well, good luck with that." Because I am nothing if not supportive.

Luckily he has an older brother who showed him the ropes and by the time I returned home the second layer of cake was getting ready to go into the oven.


I grew up in a family that had no recurring traditions. Things were different every year, every holiday, every event. There were never any traditional foods served on holidays or traditional decorations that were brought out to decorate. This is probably why I embrace the traditions whenever they come about. I have discovered that they are not things that can be forced.

My idea for caroling through the neighborhood at Christmas, for example, will never be accepted, though every year I tell them, "C'mon, it's a tradition!" This past year my oldest son informed me that the tradition is for me to suggest it and everyone else to shoot the idea down.

"So you would be disappointed if I didn't suggest it then? Because it is a tradition, right?" I asked.

"I would get over it," he responded.


Traditions are the glue that holds families together.

The cake was adorable. He had also taken it upon himself to decorate the cake by using a butter knife in white frosting to spell "Happy Birthday".

He also decorated it himself

Visit Chris Jordan's personal blog, Notes from the Trenches