Today is my father's 82nd birthday, so I baked him a pecan pie. He is really more of a pie guy than a cake guy. So, I got talking on the phone while the pie was baking (and baking and baking) and, well, the pie was a bit crispy around the edges by the time I got off the phone. OK, blackened would perhaps be a more accurate term. That led me to think about me and birthday cakes, and I was struck once again with the reality that cake decorating is really not one of my strong points. Now let me just say that three of the above cakes are not my worst; I just don't have photos of the really bad ones. Jesse's 13th birthday cake (that's a llama, by the way) is perhaps more indicative of my cake decorating skills. But I do have one thing to say about my cakes: while they may not be fancy, they are meaningful (and usually tasty, as well). The first cake is Duncan's most recent. That's an army battlefield. Army green icing is fun to make. The next is pretty good for me. That was from the days when Jesse was obsessed with fish--probably around 3rd grade. And the Christmas tree is from my Christmas baby's first birthday. Probably my most disastrous cake ever was Jesse's gorilla cake, when he turned one. It was like a giant chocolate blob with a banana in its mouth. It sort of looked like Raold Dahl's vermicious knids. It's nice, though. As I was looking for cake photos, Jesse stood behind me and remembered each one of them. The kids don't care about smooth icing or rosettes; they just remember feeling loved.